Share this photo on Twitter Share this photo on Facebook

recipe for a hi-res panorama

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 10 August 2010 in Cityscape & Urban and Portfolio.

View from Yerba Buena Island

So the question yesterday was: 'Why am I showing this image?'

The answer is that yesterday's image was a detail of THIS image! Click on the larger view (below) to more fully appreciate the resolution. You might be curious how I achieved this. I knew that the new version of Photoshop (CS5) had the capability to process large multiple images in this way - but now discover that CS3 and CS4 can do this as well (I am still using CS4).

This image was shot with my older Canon 5D. But I could have done it with my long departed D10! Or the Rebel. In fact, you can do this with any decent digital camera with a good lens.

The key is photo-stiching in Photoshop. The above image is a composite of six images shot at 70mm. Tripod mounted. The final image as cropped is 158 mega-pixels.

I'll confess that I took this another level by selecting the images out of Lightroom. I did this so that when Photoshop finished with its stitch work - and after I cropped the image - I saved it which created a copy back in Lightroom. I then opened it in Lightroom to apply a gradient to the sky, color correct and apply sharpening. While in Lightroom I also did some other slight tweaking with clarity, vibrancy, and saturation.

There are some excellent YouTube tutorials on this. How this all came about:

Sunday morning, I exited off The Bay Bridge onto Yerba Buena Island. I wanted to look and see how the access was to where I took Saturday's capture (Sunbreak on the Bay Bridge). I was happy to discover that much of the brush and cover has been cleared and access was actually easier. While I was there I came up with the thought of trying a PhotoStitch with the telephoto. After getting back to my computer I started doing some research through Adobe 'help.' This began the process that led to this image. I was amazed. Until now I was using the Canon software for doing stitch work. Adobe's software runs circles around theirs. Check it out for yourself - after your images load as separate layers into Photoshop - turn the layers off and on and use the sliders to make the layers partially transparent. You'll see what Photoshop does to hide any hint of a seam. This is exciting!

Here we go - you may need to use your scroll sliders to see it all:

Larger View:

© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
please respect these rights - do not copy or use these images without permission.

Yvon from Orleans, France

superbe, magnifique landscape

10 Aug 2010 5:06am

Alun from cheshire, United Kingdom

very good, stunning

10 Aug 2010 5:22am

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

A fabulous work, Stephen! I like very much the panoramic in its original size, great!

10 Aug 2010 5:45am

Marie LC from France

It is a good idea to widen the panorama to allow to view the set a detail of which you showed yesterday

10 Aug 2010 6:10am

Evelyne Dubos from Le Mans, France

Great panoramic view that is really nice to discover in larger size.

10 Aug 2010 6:11am

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

Very nice cityscape, and congratulations for yesterday's crop ?

10 Aug 2010 7:56am

Phil David Alexander Morris from Saskatoon, Canada

Totally amazing, I am very impressed.

10 Aug 2010 8:24am

JPS from Le Havre, France

Impressive !! Good job...

10 Aug 2010 8:39am

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

5***** again, this is extraordinary Stephen ! You did a fantastic job here. Have a nice day :)

10 Aug 2010 9:14am

@Tamara: Thank you very much, Tamara. Much appreciated.

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

WOW! 158 mega-pixels, that's a billboard! I have been meaning to try this, and now I just may have to.

10 Aug 2010 11:15am

@Ralph Jones: Go gettum, Ralph! I'll be curious to see what you come up with given your unique vision. Personally, I can't wait to try this again.

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Stephen I would also thank you for your unselfish sharing of this "find" that you made.
Very good of you to do that!

10 Aug 2010 3:59pm

@Denny Jump Photo: Hey Denny - for me - this is at the core of online communities such as this - an opportunity to share, to learn, and to hopefully grow. I just posted this link of a very simple tutorial on 'AM3 on Facebook' and include it here (for those who aren't on Facebook):

There are a few of things I would change about this presentation - but they are minor. I like it because it would encourage anyone who thinks this too complicated to get over that idea. The most important thing I wold add is that you do not need Lightroom to make this happen. Just click on 'help' in photoshop and type 'creating a photo merge' into the search box. Follow the tutorials.

yz from Budapest, Hungary


10 Aug 2010 4:04pm

Pixator from kerman, Iran

Oh nice!

10 Aug 2010 6:07pm

Susan from Pompano Beach, by Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

Wow, so much more than a mere "poster" !! You did a phenomenal job with this......I never would have guessed yesterday, that that image was just a small section of another!!! And also appreciate you sharing the info on only question do you get multiple images, without the distortion that I seem to get when I try this?? I always seems to end up with a "curved" image....and don't know if it's because of how I shoot em.....any help you can offer will be appreciated, as always !!!

11 Aug 2010 12:15am

@Susan: Greetings, Susan. Thanks. You will always get some distortion around the edges that will need to be cropped after the merge. You can minimize much of this by using a leveled tripod. I also think you get better results by avoiding a wide angle lens (focal length). Overlap your captures more than you think necessary - this will mean more layers and a longer time for your computer to process the merge - but it is more than worth the extra time. Photoshop is incredibly sophisticated in how it assesses and creates the merge.

I was going through and looking at the individual layers (by making one semi-transparent with the slidders) and was blown away at how the layers were cut and merged along lines of hard detail that ran all over the place! The border between two of the frames in today's post runs down Telegraph Hill. The merge line dances all around - separating between individual houses and blocks without cutting through them - so it can achieve a natural looking stitch.

Practice with 3 or four layers just so you can see how it works - then do larger ones. I can't wait to try a really complex merge before long. Have fun with this!

Anthony Morgan Lambert from Bielefeld(Old West Wales boy), Germany

Seems like a lot of know how to me,I use Photoshop elements 6 and havn´t really got past the Shadows/highlights,contrast,hue stage (not that I want to overly process anyway) I have recently downloaded Oloneo photoengine (for free) to try my hand at HDR shots and my first dabblings will appear soon here.

11 Aug 2010 10:21am

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

Quality Stephen, absolute quality and helpful commentary.

11 Aug 2010 7:49pm

Jason Kravitz from Brussels, Belgium

Thanks Stephen for the pointers and links - awesome shot as well - cheers

11 Aug 2010 8:20pm

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

Wow! MAgnificent! Thank you for sharing! I have so much to learn.....

21 Aug 2010 5:49am

dj.tigersprout from New York City, United States

yowsa...!!! 5 stars...! faaabulous!!!

27 Aug 2010 7:33pm