Well, I finally made the jump from pure technique to something artistic. It was cold, and as usual I forgot to bring gloves. But I got to Poets Walk, and I had the idea in my head last night of where I was going to place the camera so that there would be four roads – sort of a cross in each compass direction. In other words, about halfway down the walk, where there are two roads off to the right and left. Also I decided to do a lot of overlapping because I didn’t feel like coming back to the house and finding that I was missing some piece (as happened yesterday).
So I was sort of cursing the cold, and my hands were starting to stick to the metal tripod. They were getting raw – but I had come this far, and there was no way I wasn’t going to do this thing.
I took 24 shots x 4 rows at 15 degrees each. That is a heck of a lot of data to stitch together. I’m loading the files into PTGui now. To the eye – they look reasonable, i.e. I don’t believe I missed anything. Lighting is an issue as parts were shot almost straight into the sky, and other parts down at the ground. The instructions from most pano groups is to set the exposure and pretty much leave it there, but I decided to let the camera auto-expose each shot. I also went against the book and let the camera focus on what seemed reasonable. It was AV at F8. There were lots of people and I spent a lot of time waiting for people to at least stand clear of the camera, i.e. not get within 40 feet or so.
Then the stupid park police came by, and sat in their scooter, right in my shot. So again I waited and waited. Maybe ten minutes and finally they pulled away.
Then a tour group came by, and pretty much surrounded me – watching – as if I was going to do something with them in every portion of the pano. That would be okay if they wanted to stand still, but no they were just curious about my rig. Eventually they got bored and continued on.
So that was one setup. It probably took me about a half hour or so to shoot. I was happy to easily level the camera (sometimes a real pain for me) with the bubble that the nodal ninja has.
After that, I did one more setup in the plaza by the amphitheater (if that’s how you spell it?). This was even more of a pain as people were swirling all over the place. Of course next time if there’s anything interesting in either of these shots, I’ll get out there early when it’s empty.
Having moving people in some shots isn’t the worst thing in the world – as PTGui allows you to erase parts of an image so that the image below it shows through – but if you have to do a lot of this – you don’t want to with a super large giga image.
Also, I went against what the rules were for using the 20mm with a cropped lens. The instructions I found said you could get by (barely) with 10 images for the horizontal 360. I’ve found this not to be true if the camera was in portrait position. So as I say – I decided to really do a lot of overlapping, as I say and went with 24 images per row.
PTGui also has a grid tool, which is what I plan to use. One thing I learned that makes things easier, is to shoot each row in order. In other words, start with your zero (first) image in the row, and just go around the notched rotation until you arrive back at zero (and don’t shoot that one again – as it makes life confusing). Also, it’s really helpful to shoot your hand between rows, so you know where one starts and one ends in Lightroom.
Oh – you want to see the picture. Sorry… I’ve just finished loading it into PTGui. Will press a few buttons, keep my fingers crossed, and see if I got it right. Stay tuned.
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I got a bunch of things wrong in the stitching process. But I’m certain that I have all the files I need. On top of that – NIK ColorEffx refused to process the file saying it was too large; so I took it from 16 bit to 8 bit. This time it loaded, but after about 10 minutes of processing (ProContrast) ColorEffex crashed.
So for one thing I can see that I’ve got to do the stitching again. But also I need to work at a smaller size, at least for now, so that I can make changes and get it right before going into NIK – if I can use NIK at all on such large files. The file I was working on (or trying to work on) was 1.5 Gigabytes. As I say — stay tuned… :)