Panoramic Sunset

One of my favorite type of photos is the panoramic shot. There are just some scenes that the widest angle lens probably isn't going to get. A fisheye lens might get it, but then there's all the distortion to deal with. But, at least for me, panoramas aren't the easiest to make and I forget just how difficult they can be until I'm 3 hours into processing and I can still see the seams of the individual photos. This is a 3 shot panorama taken on a tripod and with a sizable amount of overlap with distinguishing features to help the software figure out how to align things. Oh, and this shot panorama was also supposed to be an HDR panorama. Meaning a total of 15 exposures.

First I tried making the five different panoramas for each exposure value. Problem with that is the software cropped it differently for each exposure making the resulting HDR blurry since they didn't quite line up correctly. This after multiple attempts. Then I processed the individual frames through HDR first then stitched them. This is where there was either a user error, or an inexperienced user. Or panorama software is just terrible. The problem for me doing it that way caused a different look in each of the frames no matter how hard I tried to keep the sky and bay lighting similar. So when they got stitched together, if Photoshop or Hugin could figure it out, the sky just looked horrible. So after working on this on and off for about a week I decided to scrap the HDR part of this and see what I could get out of it.

I'm not sure why Photoshop or Hugin couldn't do more with the seams, but I had to spend a while hand retouching the sky to get rid of the seams. For the record, those areas on the right side that look like seams really aren't. As someone who obsessed over getting rid of the seams to the point where I felt I was seeing phantom seams I'd know. The only problem with panoramas are that I think they should be seen big and large. 2048 by 360 (if you view it at full size here) just doesn't do it justice. The original is 12,516 by 2203 and over 165 megabytes.

Trinidad at Sunset Panorama
Trinidad Bay at Sunset

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