Panorama’s – How it’s done


Hope you like my Panorama’s in my last post, I promised more info on how I did it so here we go.
I’ll go through this one the really wide shot, however all follow more or less a process.

Just ONE word PTGUI okay I’ll explain more.

- Firstly the Panorama.
These are a mix of a multiple shots stitched together to give the wide field of view. This shot is 11 shots, 2 at 10mm and 9 at 20mm and covers over 270 degrees. The mix of focal lengths is done to cover the extreme ends where there are no suitable reference points to use stitching.
I have outlined each one here so you can see the stitching lines.

- Exposure.
We are shooting at sunset and directly into the sun and then completely away into the shadows. This presents multiple problems and a camera can not cope with such a wide range of light levels.

This would be a “normal” exposure into the sun.

0 EV = Average but a bit wishy washy

The answer is to shoot HDR and bracket the exposures.
This means that for each of the 11 shots in the panorama there are 3 shots so 33 in total.
This is what the other brackets look like at the light and dark end.

-2 EV = Dark and lost the deck but nice details in the cloud

+2 EV = Bright and got the deck but loose the sky

These therefore cover all the exposure range and the computer then merges and compressed the range of light levels from all three shots to produce a single image with correct exposure.


To shoot these HDR brackets you have to use manual camera setting, scan the horizon to pick your 0 EV and then adjust settings to ensure that it will work (there was a lot of movement so had to have fast shutter speed).

Then once all shot feed them into the computer and start the slow work. Post process time 3.5 hours, about 1 hour setting and tuning the panorama, 1 1/2 hours for the computer to do the processing and then another 1 hour in photoshop to finally tidy up.

Here it is, and this one is the full res copy so if you’ve got the time and bandwidth click and have a look.

In case your interested, the ship is the Habari and she is a VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) 330m long, 60m wide and over 320,000 tonnes DWT, amongst the largest ships in the world.

Richard B.

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