Issue with stitched panorama using Lightroom
I don’t usually do panoramas, but I was on my hotel balcony in Hawaii all set up (camera on tripod in vertical orientation) and waiting for the Hilton Friday night fireworks. I was early, but that’s always better than last minute. But, since I had a camera and the sun had just set I did what most people with cameras would do. I started taking pictures. The next thing I knew I had taken a series from west to east. When I stitched it in Lightroom I saw some issues. Mainly there is a lot of discontinuity in the balcony railing in the foreground. I also see some horizon curvature. I suspect these are a result of my technique, not the Lightroom stitching.
Since I’m a newbie at this I unintentionally overlapped more than needed, about 70-80% instead of 30% so the pano was stitched skipping alternate (sometimes even two) photos. But when I repeated the stitching with all of the photos included I still got the discontinuities but they were a little smaller. Here are a few details:
- I don’t have an L-bracket so the camera was not centered over the tripod, and rotation was not about the camera axis. I definitely didn’t pay any attention to the nodal point. I wasn’t planning on doing panos so I forgive myself for not being prepared, but that may contribute to the mismatching I see in the balcony railing.
- My tripod is a Manfrotto 190XPROB with 488RC4 ball head. I sometimes think this tripod is less stable than I would like, but the details in the pano seem to be OK. Maybe being on the balcony limited vibration from wind
- I shot using a wired remote and I didn't use mirror lock-up
- Since I first aligned for the fireworks from my fourth floor balcony the camera is pointing somewhat downward. I leveled the tripod without the camera and kept the ball portion of the head fixed while rotating the entire head, essentially panning with no changes to tilt so I could quickly get back to the fireworks setup when I was done.
- I shot with a fixed aperture of f/11, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.3 (to keep the fireworks from overexposing too much), focal length 24mm on my Nikon D7200 crop sensor camera. Exposure was about 1.5 to 2 seconds on the right, closest to the sunset location and 20 seconds for the far left. I’m also pretty sure I remembered to turn off the vibration stability. I set focus and turned AF off.
- Because of the exposure bias I had to brighten the entire image a lot in Lightroom. I only adjusted exposure on the final image, not the individual photos.
- I think I used the cylinder setting for pano stitching because what I read online said that with a lot of verticals that might be best. The marina has a lot of vertical masts which I wanted to keep straight
I don’t know if I will do more panos, but it was kind of fun trying something new. Since I do like to do scenery photos, I might end up trying again. So, any suggestions about panos in general to prevent the problems I am seeing in this one would be appreciated. I’m guessing that because the railing is so close to the camera the angle it makes in the photo changes from frame to frame and it is just more than Lightroom can handle. Would this be eliminated if I had a pano head and properly set up nodal slide? Maybe the downward angle of the camera is also playing a role, but confirmation would be nice. Also, any other comments about this photo are welcome if anyone feels like it. I know it’s not necessarily a compelling subject but it’s what I had at the time. I did think the sky was pretty cool.
This link will take you to a larger photo (SmugMug 5K) if anyone is interested.