High Resolution HDR Panorama Shots - Workflow and Samples: HD-HDR-Panoramen

March 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Some times I like to do a special. HDR Panoramas. These Panoramas have a few specialties. One is -of course - it is HDR - but the other one is size. Size means that these images are typically in the range of 50 - 150 Megapixel or more...

I started that in my office - because my office has a perfect view on Stuttgart.... I do have a special album here on my Website: http://delightphoto.zenfolio.com/p94149370

But let´s start step by step. The first learnings I had was: In San Francisco at Golden Gate at the Northside of the bridge. A panorama with the bridge on the left side and the open ocean on the right side... The problem I faced: I will need HDR. One year later: same procedure, but the failure: no RAW-files, only jpg: In the stitched Pano: artifacts... Again one year later (2014) I was a bit quick because I was late and did not adjust the Pano-Head correctly - and the sky came out a bit cloudy....

The 2013 Panorama with the blown out sky and the artifacts in the orange part of the colors in the sky

For what I love these kind of Panoramas is the amount of Detail you have in these huge files.. typically such a panorama has 100 Megapixel and more... Therefore you can zoom in a lot...

 

To do these Pano´s it is really tricky: I had to upgrade my gear continuously to become better and better. What helps definitely is the Nodal Point Pano head from Novoflex... I use http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/panorama-photography/panorama-vr-system-pro-ii/ but mounted on the Classic Ball II http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/camera-support-systems/ball-heads/classicball-5-ii/ - equipped with water levels...

With this new equipment stitching became much easier.

This first Panorama was taken in Falera, Switzerland. The viewing angle is ca 320º. Making these kind of Panorama´s Ghosting can get an issue, especially when people are moving...

Meanwhile I found out that I had to change the workflow to achieve the best results

  • Taking the images with the HDR function of the 5DMkIII
  • Developing tha RAW-Files with Camera Raw using the standard values of Adobe - And to set the White Balance from Auto or "As taken" f.i. to daylight.
  • Opening each set of photos in HDR Efex Pro - and saving them as TIFF Files 
  • Stitching with PT Gui Pro (Making the HDR´s with Color Efex Pro gives much better results.)
  • Again I safe them as 16 bit Tiffs. Sometimes I have to take care of the file size not to exceed 2 GB...
  • Retouching the images typically in Aperture - but sometimes in Camera Raw and Photoshop.

I found this out shooting a building for a new website - my wifes Dental office by the way...

It is a 180º shot (or a little bit more) I died a bit of retouching, especially the building it got a bit highlighted to give it more punch... one of the heaviest problems i faced is the ghosting. Maybe that HDR Efex pro has here some limitations against Photomatix.... 

One of the next images taken with this set up was in Laguna Beach on my US trip in February...

Again: the view angle was ca 320º. (the missing part was a trash... not nice and not necessary to have in the image. The road on the left sie ant the beach on the right side are parallel....

This year during my visit in San Francisco it became clear that I will not have the chance to got to Golden Gate. With this knowledge in mind I decided to use the impressive skyline at the Moscone Center for a shoot. In a conference break I took my iPhone and I spotted the places for the blue hour shots:

Later in the evening I did the real stuff...

This first photo was made out of 6 photos with the 5D MarkIII and the Rokinon f2.8 14mm @ f8, ISO100 and 5/0,6/30s

This first photo was made out of 12 photos with the 5D MarkIII and the Canon EF f2.0 35mm  IS USM @ f8, ISO200 and 2,5/0,3/20s. The reason why I needed 12 images you can see in the iPhone-Photo below: I needed to adjust the camera in 2 vertical angles...

Whoever thinks you do not need High end stuff - the iPhone  (Or any other smartphone) can do everything: here is the proof that you will need a high end DSLR for these kind of images...

This is the same shot with the iPhone...

After this experience I retouched my 2014 Panorama following my actual workflow - and the result was amazing - due to my taste...

So fare my really best Golden Gate Panorama... Shot with the 5DMkII, Canon EF 1.4 50mm @ f8 ISO 100 and 5/0,6/30s...

Sometimes I feel that it is hard to understand what an HDT Panorama really is. I tried this with my Facebook Banner:  My Facebook Banner: Full Size of the Pano and its detail

This image shows what is fascinating on these HD-HDR-Images: The angle of view and the amount of detail as well. Do you find the places from where the details are??


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