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Last week’s Borrego trip gave me plenty of opportunities to try out some new things. With Photoshop CS4 on my laptop I wanted to play with a few new features. One feature in particular was the new merge to panoramic.
Sure, there have been panoramic merging options for a while, but nothing on the order of what’s available in CS4.
In addition to the panoramic lust that’s been boiling within me I wanted to take it a step further. Panorama plus HDR. Oh yeah, that’s what I wanted!
I’ve followed a great many photography websites, and I’ve seen what people can do. Several of the leading experts out there have made some amazing images, and I wanted to see if I could pull one off too. You know, for grins and giggles!
Once I started setting up for panoramic HDRs it struck me……How the heck do I do this? Pick through all the phases of the pano and HDR each seperate phase? Or do I take the different exposure levels and make panoramas out of each level, then merge the panoramas together as an HDR? What to do, what to do, what to do?
On one of my first test rounds I set up the series of shots, worried about the results, so went back and set up for a straight panoramic just in case. You know, if the pano/HDR totally sucked! 😉
I shot 3 HDR setups in a row, moving across the horizon. So, 3 photos for one HDR, 3 photos for the next HDR, and 3 photos for the final HDR. Hope that makes more sense.
Since returning home I’ve been at the gallery constantly. I sorted all of my photos, and I found that particular series looking out from Font’s Point over the Badlands of Borrego. While at the gallery I finally started into processing HDR/Panos, and I started with my easiest one. For the first go round I decided to HDR each panel of the 3 scenes and then merge them to a Panoramic afterward. It worked! But, is it the right way, or the best way? Not sure. I’ll be toying with more of these throughout the week, and I’ll try other approaches and share them with you here! 😉
By the way, for this example I only mashed 9 photos together. I’ve got some series that get well over 30 photos…..that’s mashing a ton of photos together!
The 3 additional photos (beyond the panoramic) are the 3 processed HDRs that went into the panoramic. You might say to yourself, “These aren’t exactly like the final blended image……..” You’re right!
After the HDR merge, then the panoramic merge I did a little more work in Photoshop. I switched the final panoramic to Lab Color. Then I popped in and did the “Apply Image” function in Photoshop. I stayed with Lab color, and I picked Soft Light for the blend mode and lowered the opacity as it was a bit too much. I think the final adjustments popped up the image just right. Need further information on that little trick? It’s in Scott Kelby’s updated Photoshop CS4 book.