I don’t know what the weather’s been recently for you, but here it’s been dreadful. I haven’t been out properly with a camera since the start of January. And I’m not holding out much hope for the next couple of weeks either. It’s only when I look back over my photo’s trying to find a Friday image that I realise I haven’t shot very much at all. Even last year the conditions didn’t work well much of the time.
Despite the lack of good weather, I did manage a good walk earlier in the month at Ingleton I the Yorkshire Dales. Whilst there I took a three-shot panorama of Ingleborough. It was captured using the Fuji X-T2 with the 18-135 lens. I also used a monopod to help steady the camera as it was freezing cold and blowing a gale up there.
I didn’t hold out much hope when I took the shot other than thinking it looks like a nice scene. Now I’ve stitched he images in Lightroom I rather like the result. It certainly conveys the sense of wide, open space you get up there.
Fingers crossed for an improvement in the weather and I hope you have a great weekend.
I am fast becoming a fan of the new Photo Merge to Panorama feature in Lightroom 6 (Creative Cloud). I can use the Stacking feature to easily group the photos in a panorama series so that I don’t mix them up with single images. I can then create the new merged panorama as a DNG file ready to be processed like any other RAW file. Once I have the merged DNG I can add it to the top of the image Stack and then collapse the stack. What I then see in Lightroom is the Panorama files and if I want to repeat the merge process I can expand the Stack to see the individual image files.
One aspect of the new feature that I am starting to change my mind about is the Auto Merge and Auto Crop checkbox. The Auto Merge feature automatically selects the blending mode but most often picks the mode that results in a long thin image. Often picking one of the other blending modes will give a file which has more height which tends to be useful.
Similarly the Auto Crop tool will take out the area where the image doesn’t cover the entire canvas. Whilst this can be helpful it can also restrict the size of the image. I have now begun to find that I am turning off the crop to check.
Where there isn’t much cropping required I now prefer to take the image into Photoshop once blended. In Photoshop I then duplicate the layer and use the “Edit | Transform | Warp” menu command to warp the duplicate layer. This allows the image to be stretched over the entire canvas without a reduction in size. The only real downside to this is that the edges of the scene can become a little distorted but with landscape images this is very difficult to detect.
If you also use the new merge feature give this technique a try and let me know what you think.
One thing that I love to do is shoot panoramic images. I have an XPan Panoramic film camera and for digital I have a number of tripod attachments that allow me to shoot sequences of images for stitching. What I also do a lot of is shoot “informal panoramic sequences” where I hand hold the camera. I enjoy this but to be honest, I seldom get around to stitching these. I will go as far as grouping the images into a stack in Lightroom but then having to export them to Photoshop or Hugin in order to do the stitching is a little bit too much effort for me.
This is where the new stitching tool in Lightroom has taken me by surprise. I didn’t expect to like it very much but in fact I love it. All you need to do is select the images you want to merge and then chose “Photo Merge| Panorama…” from the Lightroom pop-up menu. This provides a dialog where you can select from one of 3 methods of merging the images or select the auto option. There is also an auto crop option to produce the finished image. Usually I am not a big fan of any tool that starts with the word “Auto” but these actually work very well.
The other surprise about the panorama stitching (besides the results being excellent quality) is that you can merge vertical image sequences as well as horizontal. By vertical I am not referring to the camera being held in the portrait format but shooting a sequence where you start at the bottom and move the camera upwards vertically. All this is done automatically before the resulting image file is created and saved into your Lightroom catalogue as a DNG file rather than as a TIFF or JPEG. The DNG format then gives you lots of flexibility to edit the image further.