Even though six weeks have passed since we got back from the Southwest I still have not finished processing all the photos. One of the last things on my list was to put together all the panoramas I shot. The views are so vast that even with the 16-35mm landscape lens I borrowed from Roger; I couldn’t capture the horizon to horizon detail. One of the challenges I’d been running into before we left was the file sizes that the D800 produces. My old computer was a couple of years “overdue” for an upgrade, but it was still working. Trying to handle multiple 50MB Raw images had visibly slowed the system down and in some instances, forced Photoshop to just quit. I was just used to the inconvenience. Fortunately (?), I started getting warnings from one of my hard drives that it was about ready to die. So I put together a new system with a lot more RAM and it makes a huge difference.
This is sunset at Monument Valley. I shot it from our balcony on a tripod at f/8 at 30mm mostly at 1/20 sec. I loved the moonrise over the butte as the light was fading. The dust in the air from the blowing sand made the picture a little hazier than I would have wished, but at the same time diffused the colors nicely. How many images did it take to get this picture? Remember you want 15-30% overlap between sequential images to help the software work.
That’s right, this was actually nine shots. Just select the images you want in LR, and then select Photo>Edit In>Merge to Panorama in Photoshop. It opens your images as layers in one file and then auto aligns them, creates masks for each layer and blends the edges together based on the best fit of the overlapping segments of the images. When loaded from LR to Photoshop the file size sprang up to 1.56 GBytes. One of the techniques I learned at Photoshop world is once the automatic Panorama magic has happened, use the “Mash the left side of the keyboard” shortcut; CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-E to create a flat merged layer on top of all the individual Layers. You can then go into to the layers palate and just drag the individual layers to the trashcan icon at the bottom. That will make the final image a lot smaller. All that is left is to just SAVE the image. You don’t want to do a SAVE AS, just the plain old save will tell Lightroom to keep this new image with the other images it came from. As another general good housekeeping rule for my catalog, I then go in and stack (CTRL-G) all the images together with the panorama on top, so I can both hide the now unneeded files but have access to them if I want to do some different processing on them later.
I am still working through the images and have not finished yet. Here is a 12 photo shot from the Grand Canyon. I confess I applied a little bit of HDR to the image as the mid-day sun took away much of the contrast visible to the naked eye. I have been working on a 20 image piece, but that overloaded the memory on the computer…here we go again.