"Blue hour", my first Panorama (sort of...)
Here in my scenic gallery you can see shots I've taken of NYC and beyond dating back for more than 30 years. Yet this is the first panoramic scene I've either edited, had developed or printed out. It is certainly the first one you see in any of my galleries here on SmugMug. And a complex panorama it was. Two rows worth of photos, 15 shots in all stitched together in Photoshop. So am I some photographic genius, or artistic savant? Not even close.
While this is the first panoramic shot I actually went through the process of editing, captured during that magic time of the day photographers call the "Blue hour", it is not the first panoramic scene one of my camera's actually captured. I've tried a few times before on some lovely scenes at the Bronx botanical gardens. However my technique was so bad capturing the shots, that taking time to merge them would have been fruitless.
These failures led me to the obvious conclusion that I needed to greatly increase my knowledge of how to properly take and edit panoramas. If this was 30 years ago, I would have had to take a trip to one of our mega New York bookstores and browse through the photographic section, (Oh how I loved frequenting our many huge bookstores back in the day), then skim through numerous authors works till I found one that I could understand and learn from better than all the rest, then apply that newly acquired knowledge to my efforts.
However this is 2017 and for quite some time now you can get all the info you need on almost anything right from the comfort of your own home on the Internet. And so I looked at hours of video, on all things panoramic. The wonderfully instructive video's showed me what equipment I already had that was good enough for the task, what new ones I needed to add, and what things I needed start doing, and stop doing when I was setting up and taking my shots that was ruining my efforts.
So complete and helpful were all their instructions that this shot, far more ambitious than any panorama I tried and failed at before, almost came out the way you see it now, right out of the box when Photoshop finished processing it.
So let me not go further without giving much thanks and admiration to :
Jimmy McIntyre, Klaus Herrmann, "JTS Design", Lester Picker, Serge Ramelli (from the beautiful, the incredible, the romantic city of 'PaREE' France), John Freeman and JP Morgan from The Slanted Lens.
In fact only a couple of issues had to be addressed before I cropped the shot and edited it in Nik software. The horizon line a few blocks north of the UN bowed up noticeably, and the tall building too high to all fit just south of the Queensboro bridge got distorted at the top. So what did I do? I watched yet another equally helpful video, this time from Julieanne Kost - Principal Evangelist for Adobe (oh so many incredibly helpful people can be found on the Internet). She showed me that I was using the wrong stitching settings in Lightroom. I then chose the setting she suggested for stitching together multi row panoramas (choose spherical by the way under these circumstances, thanks Julieanne), and walla! The shot you see was practically what came out before I even started editing.
Because my other attempts at panoramas was so poor, I just assumed this shot would simply be a test shot that I wouldn't bother uploading to SmugMug when I finished, and simply be a tutorial shot to see how my skills were progressing. However the helpful tips and knowledge gleaned from all the above mentioned photographers was so superb, that this shot came out better than I could have ever imagined, and so it sits here in my gallery, a testament not to my skills, but instead to how great a job all of these teachers were at guiding me through the pitfalls of panoramic picture taking.
summerRoosevelt IslandduskscenicpanoramaNYCeastsidesld 6