Creating Panoramas in Lightroom
I did create some, picked out some images, panoramics. I did a trip to Norway a couple years ago and just so you can see, that's the panoramic we're gonna be creating. This is the Lofoten Islands in Norway. If you ever get a chance to go there, it's a pretty amazing place. It's kinda brutal in the winter but pretty amazing. I love cold winter, this is the summer. We did a big sailing trip. So, I shot a whole host of images and, you know, lots of people, when they shoot panoramics, some professionals definitely get all crazy about the tripod and the fancy bracket that allows them to adjust their nodal points of where the lens is positioned so that when they turn the camera, it's perfectly balanced left to right. That isn't me. 'Cause I'm usually carrying climbing gear or a whole bunch of other gear and I have a camera and I'm just out there like, bink, bink, bink, bink, bink, okay, there's my panoramic. And I don't really pay attention to those things 'cause if you're really close to so...
mething and you're shooting a landscape with a bush, like, five feet in front of you, then it really matters. But if you're shooting something like this, that's two or 300 feet away, not really dialing in your nodal points, not gonna, nobody's gonna notice unless they're really getting nutty and have the full res file to go in there. And even then, I don't really see much difference. And typically when I shoot a panoramic, I'm overlapping a third with either frame. The crazy thing is, this is a D810, I've shot some with my Hasselblad that end up being, like, two gigabyte files with 12 files in there. And when you load all those 16-bit files into Photoshop, your computer's like coughing, you see steam coming out of the side of the computer. So, depends on what camera you have but it's a beautiful way to make images that are much higher resolution than the camera you have. It's also often, for me, just, these are little photography tips on the side here, sometimes, I won't have the widest lens that I want. Like, my Hasselblad, they only make 'em so wide for the medium format, it's a 24 millimeter lens, it's my widest lens, which is an 18 millimeter lens, it's one of the widest medium format lenses out there but I was shooting this ice climber and I wanted a giant panorama of this entire area, which was pretty tight. So, I shot a 12 image panorama of this entire canyon to get this super wide, like, 10 millimeter view. And then put it all together in Lightroom and Photoshop in the end, just as we're gonna do here. Think about that, maybe you only have a 24 millimeter lens but you wish you had your 14 millimeter lens, well, do a panorama and then you have a 14 millimeter lens and you can put it together in post. And just be very careful about how you do it if you've got things close in the foreground. So, a little tip there. So, if we go up here, I'm still, in case you're wondering where my bar is, I'm still in full frame mode, so let me get out of that really quick just so you can see, if I go up here to photo and go to photo merge, I'm gonna go to panorama, here. And let me cancel out of this real quick. Often... Let me go to develop module, just so you can see what's going on here, there are no adjustments to these images. I do the panorama merge before I work them up because the beauty of Lightroom these days is, when I put this together, what it's gonna create is a DNG file that's a raw file that's completely editable. So, I don't necessarily need to go in here and work up the image. So, panorama, and it will come up with the panorama dialogue and this is million times easier than it used to be in Photoshop where it worked great but it was a lot of work. Lightroom does a pretty fantastic job of putting stuff together. And you'll see, right now, I have perspective, over here's the option, I might try cylindrical and just see what that looks like. It re-renders the image. This is the D810 so it's 36 megapixels, (moans) that's not that great. It stretched the mountains a little bit more than I want. Spherical, see what it does. Gotta wait for it to think, here. It's mashing 'em, so perspective looked pretty good. I'm gonna go ahead and merge from here. You can, actually, auto crop it, I prefer to leave it uncropped and I can crop later and maybe retouch some of this in if I want more sky or less, just depends on what you wanna do. And click merge. And so, it's gonna go to work. It's gonna put the image together and it's going to spit it out, probably right next to this other one that I did earlier and then I can continue working up that panorama just like I had the other images in the develop module. So, that's beautifully simple and it works incredibly well. If you do have a wide angle lens, you do have to be cognizant of how you're pointing that lens up and down because of the barrel distortion on the lens, that can become an issue but Lightroom corrects that pretty well, in my experience, it also takes out vignettes from the camera so that it looks pretty smooth. There's ways to do panoramas in Photoshop that are much more complex, but for my taste and for what I've done, this is pretty simple.
Which lens you use, which?
For this image?
That is a good question, let me go see. 300 millimeter f/4. So, that's a long lens, this thing was really far away. On a D810. So, it's not... Just whatever lens I have with me is the one I'm probably gonna use, depends on the scene. We were on a sailboat when I took this image so, the sailboat was stationary but this was the harbor we just left, actually, so that's why it's a longer lens for this example. So, from here, if I go into Lightroom, you know, er, if I go into the development module, it's the same deal as always. I'm gonna just adjust the image, I'm just gonna make a few quick adjustments here, I'm not gonna necessarily work this one up all the way. And here, definitely, I'm gonna be looking at these highlights. And you'll notice, when I hit the option key, the white background is blown out but it's pure white, so that's totally fine. Blacks, you know, you're noticing that I'm not crushing blacks here in Lightroom because if I'm gonna crush blacks or really fine tune those endpoints with histogram, I'm gonna do that in Photoshop in a known color space. So, you get the point there. I think panoramas are amazingly easy to create. They're so much fun, too. Often, what I'll do for a lot of my shoots is, lots of photographers do this, they'll create what we call plates. And we'll go and we'll shoot the background without the subject in it. And from the exact same place we're gonna shoot whatever athlete doing whatever they are or a portrait or whatever we're doing and then that allows us to move the subject in the scene, however we need to, after the fact. And for high-end commercial shoots, that's something that we do pretty much on every shoot. Gives the client a lot more options, if they want the subject over here, so they can put text on their billboard or their big in-store cardboard advertisement or whatever they're doing, it just gives them a lot more options. And that's obviously an advertising thing, you wouldn't do that for National Geographic or a newspaper or somebody like that because you can't manipulate the image like that.