I used to use a piece of panorama software by Arcsoft called Panorama Maker but lost the use of it when I switched back to Mac computers about two years ago. It was a great little PC-only utility that allowed lots of flexibility in the merge process. I started using the ‘Photomerge’ plugin that comes inside Photoshop CS5 after that, and it did a decent job. But I found it was far less agile at handling complicated merges, sometimes ‘bombing out’ if I hadn’t created perfect overlaps for it to work with.
Now I’ve stumbled upon Canon’s wonderful Photostitch software, a little utility that comes bundled on the disk with just about any Canon digital camera. The version that I’m using which is pictured here is Version 3.2 from 2009.
I’ll take you through the steps of creating a panorama, in this case from six images shot on a recent foggy morning. I was out on what was turning out to be a very productive shooting trip when I found myself at the edge of a beautiful ‘oak alley,’ as we call these old live oak groupings in south Louisiana. Frequently these trees have outlived a now long-gone plantation house, lined up in two rows to form the ‘alley’ overhead. These stately old trees always seem to evoke a bit of mystery for me and I wanted to create something that gave a sense of that. But simply racking my wide lens all the way out to 16mm destroyed the intimacy and immediacy of the situation. I knew a series of images for a panorama was the answer.
I wasn’t using a tripod at the time, so I simply used my elbows to lock the camera against my sides and rotated my body about a quarter turn for each image. (The key is to remember to provide some overlap between each shot so the software can figure out where to stitch things together.)
Now for Canon’s Photostitch:
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Or subscribe to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog