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2 panos from Baltimore, MD
Posted By: 12345Michael54321, 09-07-2008, 02:38 AM

This first one is a panorama consisting of 8 stitched together shots. It's of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, from Federal Hill Park. This is one of the classic locations for photographing the Inner Harbor area.

I used a Pentax K10D and 50-200 lens (at 50mm). Bogen 3001 tripod. Exposure of 0.3 sec. @ f/11. (Manual exposure mode, about 1 stop more exposure than the camera wanted, to compensate for all the sky in the picture which was tricking the camera into underexposing a little.) Manually focused. (I typically use manual focus on panos, as I want all the frames to be focused for the same distance. In this case I could probably have just used auto-focus, since they'd likely have all been focused at infinity, anyway.) ISO 100. Shutter tripped by hand, but with 2 sec. delay.

The picture was made right around sunset, several months ago, as it would be getting dark enough at that time that there'd be plenty of pretty lights, but it wouldn't be nighttime dark. Basically, I wanted dusk, not night. (I generally prefer the look of cityscapes at dusk, to their look during mid-day or night.)

The resulting pano is more than 18000 x 2300 pixels in size. (But I've greatly reduced the size and converted it to jpg for posting to this forum.)

And yes, that thing way over on the left edge of the frame is indeed a cannon. In April of 1861, as the Civil War was getting underway, the hill was occupied by Union troops under the command of General Benjamin F. Butler. They erected a small fort there, with cannon pointing toward Baltimore's business district. Their goal was to guarantee the allegiance of the city and the state of Maryland to the federal government, under threat of force. (Maryland was a slave state, and if it had seceded from the Union, Washington DC would have been surrounded by hostile forces.) This fort and the Union occupation persisted for the duration of the Civil War. A large flag, a few cannon, and a small Grand Army of the Republic monument remain to testify to this period of the hill's history.

This second picture is of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, up on N. Charles St., in Baltimore.

I checked ahead of time to make sure there were no restrictive rules against photography in the cathedral, and I tried to time my visit so as to minimize disruption of religious services, wedding rehearsals, etc. All in all, I had around 90 minutes to take some pictures.

The camera used was my Pentax K10D. Lens was the 18-55mm "kit lens," at 18mm, and an aperture of f/9. (At f/9, depth of field was more than enough to keep everything sharp, so stopping down any further would just have unnecessarily lengthened exposure times, and anyway past f/11 or so a decline in image quality can be an issue.) The camera was mounted on a Bogen 3001 tripod, and triggered by remote. (The remote was a Pentax Wireless Remote Control C, purchased from Ace Photo Digital, via, for under 4 bucks. See, I use only the finest, most expensive, camera gear.)

ISO 100. And since the interior of the cathedral was somewhat dim, exposure times were well into the multiple second range. Well, it's not like the cathedral was in rapid motion, after all.

Camera orientation was vertical. And as I like a lot of overlap between images that are to be stitched together into a pano, I took 20+ "slices", covering over 180 degrees.

Really though, many of the "slices" consist of a digitally blended set of two or three exposures. One at the nominally correct exposure, one 2 stops over, and one 2 stops under. Since this was the only way to get both some color in the stained glass windows, and some detail in the shadows. Just too much range there to manage it all in a single exposure.

And yeah, the result of all these .tif files was a honkin' big final panorama. Several hundred megs in size.

The image presented here is a .jpg of that pano. Shrunk way down in size, and compressed some. Because sharing an uncompressed .tif that's 12500 x 4600 pixels in size on this forum wouldn't be all that friendly.


Last edited by 12345Michael54321; 09-07-2008 at 04:21 AM.
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09-07-2008, 03:57 AM   #2
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A lot of work for some fantastic panos...good job.....
09-07-2008, 04:17 AM   #3
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Like you said - Some honkin' big panos! I am not familiar with the locations but panos are interesting in that the viewer gets to see lots of detail in one image as opposed to several individual shots. I always wanted to get one of those film pano cameras like the Horizon or the Hassy X-Pan, but this is pretty cool too.

Thanks for sharing Michael.
09-07-2008, 04:20 AM   #4
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Seriously amazing stitch job with flawless perspective

09-07-2008, 05:18 AM   #5
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That cityscape is superb!

The church is also fantastic! I can't quite figure out if that is from side to side or even more? I mean are the doors on both sides two different door on both sides or are they actually behind you in a near 360 deg image?
09-07-2008, 07:44 AM   #6
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Congratulations Michael,
The Cathedral picture especially...that church is about the darkest building in existence. You managed to pull off a great shot.
09-07-2008, 07:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by gawan Quote
I mean are the doors on both sides two different door on both sides or are they actually behind you in a near 360 deg image?
They're two different doors. They were both behind me, but one was off to the left, and the other to the right. The pano takes in somewhat more than 180 degrees, but considerably less than 360.

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to look at and comment on my pictures, both in this thread and at I do appreciate it.
09-07-2008, 09:36 AM   #8
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Michael nice panos indeed I love the cityscape . Nice stories as well.

09-07-2008, 08:56 PM   #9
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One of the most breathtaking pano would love to see the original at 100%

09-07-2008, 10:18 PM   #10
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Very cool. The Cathedral kinda makes me dizzy... I like it.

In the far right of the cityscape, in the sky, you can see some Japanese writing I think.
09-08-2008, 05:17 AM   #11
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very impressive panos, that cathedral shot is stunning. I love it!
09-08-2008, 06:41 AM   #12
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Postcard shots to be sure.

Mind if I ask what you used to stitch these together?

Al S.
09-08-2008, 07:16 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by fillerupmac Quote
Mind if I ask what you used to stitch these together
Panorama Factory, but I do a fair number of panos, and lately I've come to rely on CS3's Photomerge capability, at least most of the time. It's reached the point where I'll almost always try CS3 first, and only in those minority of cases where I'm dissatisfied with its results do I give the dedicated software solutions a try (not that they always do any better).

There's nothing special about Panorama Factory, either. It's just a piece of software I happen to own and have on my computer. PTgui is probably better. But, as I've said, with CS3, Photoshop's stitching capabilities have gotten good enough that they're all I really need, most of the time.

I would add that when I take pictures intended for stitching, I usually go for lots of overlap between frames - not just the 20% or so that some people consider appropriate. And I'll often choose a moderate focal length - not whatever's the widest my zoom lens will do - even though this does mean more shots are required. These factors tend to make it easier for the software to put together a good quality pano, or at least that's my opinion.

For the most part, the precise make and model of my stitching software just isn't all that important. It's kind of how one's choice of Raw converter doesn't have all that much significance in terms of image quality (for all that there are folks out there seemingly obsessed with trivial differences, mainly visible only under artificial conditions that don't reflect how people actually view pictures).

FWIW, back in my Tri-X and darkroom days, neither did I care much about precisely which factory manufactured the bulb in my enlarger, or whether there might have been a 0.1 degree difference between the temperature in the center of the D76 tray, and the temperature at its edges.
09-08-2008, 10:24 AM   #14
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Great work Michael, love that skyline.
09-08-2008, 01:55 PM   #15
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Those are great Michael!
Very nice shot of the inner harbor

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