St. Michael’s Mount Panorama

This will be the third Photo of the Day in a row that goes to St. Michael’s Mount and that’s just because the place is so cool!

It’s a castle on an island, just off the coast and it’s the stuff of fantasy novels. ‘Nuff said.

This shot was a bit more difficult to put together than most panoramas. I wanted to try to capture the bright sunset that was occurring in the right-hand side of the shot while getting the blue of the ever-darkening evening that was happening on the left.

The range of stops in the whole scene was too wide for one exposure, so I did a bracket of five shots for each component shot of the panorama in order to be able to catch all the lights and darks and worried about how to put it together later.

When it came time to put everything together, I had all the component parts I wanted, but I really wasn’t sure what was going to be the best way to assemble it. I tried using the stitching software to put the HDR side of things together while simultaneously stitching together the panorama. Nope, it would have been far too easy for it to work in one, nicely-automated process. I’ve used that technique with a small degree of success in the past, but it was with a slightly more static scene inside a church. No moving water, shifting clouds or changing light to deal with.

On the next attempt, I tried to put together individual HDR shots and then stitch them together. That didn’t work because the lighting and colouring of the HDR shots came out too differently from one another for them to seamlessly blend. This occurred despite using all the same settings for every shot in the HDR processing. When processing HDR shots, I usually take a more manual, hands-on approach to avoid it all turning into a glowing surrealistic mess, but I didn’t think that was feasible with a panorama. There would have been too many differences between each image again.

So, the next step I took was to process five different panoramas, one for each exposure bracket, then see if I could layer them together. This was what ended up producing the final shot, but it came with its own big challenge.

I only ended up using two of the exposures in the end. It was enough to catch the full range and it minimized my work a bit because the problem with using this technique is that the stitching software stitched each panorama differently. When stacked on top of each other, the differences were a bit more than slight. Good thing we have the handy dandy align-layers feature in Photoshop to help us through!

But that only got us part of the way down the road. After all that, I was still left with a tedious bit for retouching when it came to finishing off the alignment and blending of the two images. With a bit of patience, it was eventually finished off for a decent result.

Click the image for a larger view:

2 Responses to “St. Michael’s Mount Panorama”

  1. Sarah says:

    I love your photos! You’re such a talented photographer.

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