I went out a couple of weeks ago with the plan to take a picture I have envisaged for quite some time. In my city there is a place called Plac Wolności (freedom Square). Plac Wolności used to be an area like a market square, on the square is a Church and the Old Town Hall.
The modern day Plac Wolności is more of a Roundabout junction with a plinth and statute on the top. It is used as a meeting place for young people or tour groups.
I had always had two ideas for the picture but I also need a few conditions to be met as well before shooting.
First I didn’t want the image to be too busy with lots of people near the centre of the square as that is where I would be taking the picture. Secondly the picture would need to be taken when the sun is not in the higher points of its arc. The picture is to be a 360degree Panorama and if the sun is too high I would be shooting into it and blowing out the sky, but I did need a sunny day.
The shot i ended up taking was a 77 image panorama. I used the four sides of the plinth plus its corners as my view points. I divided each view point into 9 areas with each area overlapping by about a third. Before I took any pictures I used the manual focus to get a general focus of the buildings around the square and then did the same for the exposure.
The exposure was F4/60.
This is the first stage of my edit. It has taken a white to get to this point. Mainly because I had to work around the huge file size of 3.5gb. The image is 10inches by 70inches.
When the panorama stitch was complete, I first had to straighten the image. I used the puppet warp tool to do this. Once the image was straightened I decided to edit the picture in zones.
The first zone I am looked at was the sky. In the original stitch the clouds were just white and blown out. I went back to the original picture used and adapted them in Camera Raw and brought them into Photoshop and blended them in.
Once the sky was blended I turned all the layers into a smart object. I did this to lower the file size but also to make sure any edit I made was not destructive to the image. This smart object is like my negative now.
Next I created folders in my layers pallet and named them for the different parts of the image for example; “foreground”, “Building centre”, “sky” ect. I made separate level adjustments for the different areas. The image at the moment is at the point where I can objectively look at it as see what needs to be done.
Here are enlarges sections of the whole image.
As you can see from this first part the computer is not always the most intelligent person in the room. Part of the stone tiling in the fore ground has not matched up the same with the third lamppost from the left. Also when I used the puppet warp tool I bent some buildings slightly out of their natural shape.
This I will fix in the next stage.
One of the main problems with this part of the image is the Museum in the middle. The sun was just rising behind it so there was a bit of flaring on the front of the museum. This is why it is not a great idea not to shoot into the sun. This will need to be worked on.
Generally this part of the image is pretty good.
Thankfully this part of the image is good. There are some masking issues which I normally clean up next. The reason I work rough first and then clean second is that I am just trying to get a look of what the image is like and then perfecting it. If you spend a lot of time carefully masking just for it to be thrown away it is pointless. It is better I believe to see how it works and then perfect.
I do like the image but I will need to play with the colours and levels some more.
The next step is to go into the smart object and merge the layers and then duplicate it into a new window. I will do this so I can close my large file and work on a smaller one to correct stitching mistakes and clean the image. I will then add it to the smart object later.
After this I will correct the colours, tone and saturation of the image. For example the sky is not perfect and there are tones of grey that I would prefer them to be more white. I expect it will take me a couple more sessions to finish it.
It is great the image turned out well but I am not sure how I will print it and if I did where I would hang it.
Let me know what you think.
If you want to know how to take digital panoramas, I wrote a post called “The World Through a Letterbox Frame”.