Tag Archives: autostitch
January 5, 2007

Thomas Basin

Thomas Basin, Ketchikan, Alaska

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Just after I managed to sell a framed print of one of my panoramas, I seriously thought about upgrading my digital camera.  By that point, I’d left hand-stitching in Photoshop behind because Autostich made assembling panoramas so much easier.  If I could iron out the work-flow, I deluded myself, I might be able to crank out salable photography on a regular basis!   I’d been shooting for years on a Canon PowerShot s30, and it was great for what it was: a tiny point-and-shoot with a tiny lens.  I longed for the days of SLR focusyness, but definitely didn’t want to go back to the 35mm work-flow.

Those were the thoughts in the back my head when we took a trip to Ketchikan.  Oksana and I made a point of getting out on a sunny day and hitting some photogenic spots.  We did Creek Street and Totem Bight, of course, but later I realized something.  My first panorama of the Mendenhall Glacier was an anomaly; it’s actually pretty damn hard to find a good panorama subject!  Creek street bowed out toward the camera (artifacts of perspective; I was too close to my subject) and the only position where I could fit the whole of Totem Bight’s park into frame ended up with the lodge dominating the shot.

At least cruise season hadn’t yet begun.  The docks downtown were completely empty.  We walked out to the end of one and I snapped off a row of pictures facing toward iconic Deer Mountain and Thomas Basin.  It was a great day for photographs.  The sun was at my back and even the normally gray Ketchikan sky decided to cooperate by sending up some puffy white clouds to fill in that expansive blue void.

When I first saw the completed picture, I worried about that radio tower in front of the mountain.  I thought about cloning it out, but anyone from Ketchikan would be quick to notice.  I see a few other imperfections (snow’s a bit overexposed, I’m not sold on the building in the left foreground, and I wish there were at least one more cloud to fill the upper right), but overall I really like this photo.

You know, tourists are rewarded with this exact view when they step off the cruise ships.  I’ll bet one or two might consider buying a print.  Some gallery owner in Ketchikan should hook me up.

Canon Powershot s30
Date: 17 April 2005
Focal Length: 10mm
Shutter: 1/318 second
Aperture: F/6.3
Photoshop:  Stitching of 9 images, Minor color correction

This is one of the last panoramas I shot on my s30 before I convinced Oksana that we should upgrade to a Canon XT.


August 31, 2006

Alpine Lake Panorama

Alpine Lake Panorama

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Last year Oksana and I observed Memorial Day with a few of our friends on the bank of the Taku River . It was a great weekend spent hiking, canoeing, and hiding in the cabin from bloodthirsty mosquitoes. My toy for the weekend was a new digital SLR that arrived in the mail just hours before our departure; I barely had enough time to charge the battery. I put it through its paces that weekend, though, coming close to filing the 1GB card.

On our second day there, our group decided to hike up the side of a mountain. Our goal was to have lunch on the shore of a beautiful lake where we would reward ourselves for navigating the steep, pathless trail alongside some raging river. It became a murderous death march of a hike that only gets worse with each retelling.

The mosquitoes denied us any rest breaks and the lake was still so full of snowmelt that there was no accessible shoreline — the water came right up to the trunks of the encroaching trees. After that legendary climb, new camera in hand, I wouldn’t be denied. While everyone else helped construct a tiny, smoky fire to keep the mosquitoes at bay, I fought my way down to the edge of the water and sacrificed a dry hiking boot so that I could step out onto a partially submerged rock.

I quickly set my exposure and focus points and started taking pictures. It took 40 frames to cover the entire lake, and if the mosquitoes hadn’t found my near-motionless arms and face around shot #10, I probably wouldn’t have missed the extra coverage on the bottom right. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to see the results when I stitched all 40 photos into a panorama.

Canon Digital Rebel XT
Date: 28 May 2005
Focal Length: 18mm
Shutter: 1/640 second
Aperture: F/5.6
Photoshop: Autostitch for stitching, cloning in upper left to fill in tree branches

More on the software I used after the jump: