Issue with stitched panorama using Lightroom

bfluegiebfluegie Big grinsIndianaPosts: 421Registered Users Major grins

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.
https://bfluegie.smugmug.com/Other/Challenges-etc-2018-/i-6tjXxcd/5K

~~Barbara

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 20,938Super Moderators moderator
    edited April 30, 2019

    Your technique and apparatus does not account for rotation around the "entrance pupil" of the lens. This omission introduces parallax error between each frame of your image sequence.

    Please visit the following page for how to properly build a system to account for rotating your system around the entrance pupil of your lenses.

    Tools of the Trade for Panoramic Photographers

    (Courtesy B & H Foto & Electronics Corp.)

    ====================================

    BTW, I use a Panosaurus Tripod Head for my typical lightweight panoramic system. For a heavier-duty panoramic system I suggest a Nodal Ninja system.

    For panoramic software on Windows PCs I use and recommend the free Microsoft Image Composite Editor, "ICE":
    Image Composite Editor (ICE)

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaPosts: 421Registered Users Major grins

    Thanks Ziggy. I appreciate the information. That's kind of what I was thinking. I used to have to pay attention to things like this in my career but we were usually worried about non-uniform energy density if we didn't match up the exit pupil of our source with the entrance pupil of our system since we were working with non-imaging optics. Parallax didn't come into play (at least not like this) since we were always concerned with a scene at infinity, although non-uniform energy distribution could lead to an error in calculated scan angle. I realized that I might have some issues when I was taking the photos but since the harbor turned out pretty good I wasn't expecting the foreground to go all wacky. Oh well, since it was just something to fill the time waiting nothing was really lost.

    I may look into getting a pano head for my tripod. I guess I'll also need a bracket to interface with the head. I won't want something too heavy though since I will be hiking to a lot of the places where I would use it and my back isn't getting any younger. I've already started leaving lenses behind... Still, even with the parallax issues it was kind of fun generating this image.

    ~~Barbara
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,405Super Moderators moderator
    edited May 7, 2019

    Shooting panos of distant frames is very easy, can be done handheld, and usually stitches right up one.

    When near objects are included in all the frames, then one has to be much more circumspect, and revolve precisely around the nodal point of the lens. If you place two vertical sticks in your frame one at 2 feet and one at 6 or 8 feet on the lens axis, and can rotate your camera and lens as a unit, in LIVE VIEW. at the nodal point, the two vertical sticks will remain one behind the other and not shift as the camera is rotated in the pano head. Easy to do ahead of time, but hard to do in the excitement of the moment. It is still a nice image to my eye.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaPosts: 421Registered Users Major grins

    Thanks @pathfinder. I had long ago read about setting up for panos using a nodal slide and how to set it, but not thinking I would do much pano photography I moved along. I thought I bookmarked the page but I can't find it now. I wasn't sure if that was the cause of this problem, but you and @ziggy53 have set me straight. Since I have gone to some locations where my 12-24 lens wasn't sufficient to fully encompass the scene I may eventually get a pano head. I will make sure to set up the nodal point settings for each lens I might use well before I head out to shoot. Prior to that, if I do panos I will make sure I don't have significant foreground elements. I did notice that the more distant elements in my shot seemed to stitch OK. I might try one or two at Yosemite in a couple of weeks.

    This shot mainly developed from setting up early and seeing a nice sunset develop, and from having a new, huge SD card in my camera. At this point I am mainly considering it as a learning experience. Plus, while not technically great, it is a nice reminder of a pleasant vacation.

    ~~Barbara
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 20,938Super Moderators moderator
    edited May 8, 2019

    One more technique to use if you don't have a lens wide enough to cover the scene in a single capture, but can capture in multiple frames (so this could work with your existing series of images of this scene):

    Just produce a triptych series of prints in individual frames. Since there is no need for parallax correction, so reduced concerns for foreground/background alignment, there is no need for specialized panoramic equipment or techniques.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,405Super Moderators moderator
    edited May 9, 2019

    Wow, that's a great suggestion Ziggy and one that I don't typically think of/remember. Good to keep in mind.

    I rarely shoot with lenses wider than 21mm unless I am shooting skies at night, so I do shoot a fair number of hand held panos. But triptychs are worth considering too, and easy to do.

    Regarding nodal points, a quick search here on dgrin of "nodal point" turned up this great thread about finding the nodal point of a lens by one of our own

    https://dgrin.com/discussion/202830/finding-the-nodal-point-of-your-lens

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaPosts: 421Registered Users Major grins

    Thanks @pathfinder. That link has the information I remember seeing. It may not be the same one I originally saw, but it has all I will need when I finally get the right gear.

    Regarding triptychs as @ziggy53 mentions, I will definitely have to give that a try at Yosemite. Thanks for the suggestion.

    ~~Barbara
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,405Super Moderators moderator

    Interesting - I've been wandering through my Lightroom catalog and finding pairs of images I shot where the scene was just a bit wider than my frame and fairly close - say 5-10 feet distant from me. not at infinity. Not sure if these were shots as panos or what, but most were never merged, just passed by. So I jumped back into LR and merged them into panos not expecting much. BUT... they didn't want to merge in cylinder mode, but in perspective mode I found several that stitched up just fine. Some quite distorted and might need a trip into PS to to use Edit -> Transform ->Warp to get them more squared away. But for handheld panos of near objects to merge is quite remarkable - I suspect that since they were only 2 images that mattered a lot.

    Which brings me to one other question. How many folks find they are using the Transform function in LR a lot? I find myself using the Transform - full or with subtle slide adjustments more and more. For almost any painting, sign, or poster that I photograph - and the image magically gets squared up like I actually had the sensor parallel and square to my subject when shot?? I find myself really liking the Transform tool and I find little mention or discussion of it here. ??

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 20,938Super Moderators moderator

    @pathfinder said:

    ... How many folks find they are using the Transform function in LR a lot? I find myself using the Transform - full or with subtle slide adjustments more and more. For almost any painting, sign, or poster that I photograph - and the image magically gets squared up like I actually had the sensor parallel and square to my subject when shot?? I find myself really liking the Transform tool and I find little mention or discussion of it here. ??

    I don't use Lightroom, but I still use the "Free Transform" and regular "Transform" in Photoshop, and the similar "Keystone" corrections in Capture One Pro, to do this sort of perspective correction. I haven't seen the need for either Tilt-Shift lenses or pulling out my 4" x 5" Calumet with full tilts, shifts and swings as a result.

    Digital photography and the digital darkroom (digital post processing) is incredibly empowering and enabling!

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 18,835Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    @pathfinder said:
    Which brings me to one other question. How many folks find they are using the Transform function in LR a lot?

    I use it all the time. It's very good at getting the vertical lines of buildings to look right. Before I started using LR, I would use the perspective adjustment in PS cropping, along with rotation. The LR adjustments are easier and even the automatic corrections work well most of the time. It has been a big time-saver for me. That said, I have not had much success using it to correct my sloppy, improvised, hand-held pano shots. It shouldn't come as a surprise that they are hopeless.

  • sarasphotossarasphotos Major grins Augsburg, GermanyPosts: 2,180Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 16, 2019

    Right now I'm using the LR pano quite a bit, as I just got back from a trip where I took many, to quote @Richard "sloppy, imporvised, hand-held pano shots". :wink: Actually, I find the process had greatly improved in the last couple of LR versions. Here's an example of one that was put together from 24 shots: For my use it's pretty acceptable - but of course there were no railings to contend with. I also am an upright user - I just have to remember when taking the picture to leave ample room around the top and sides for the straightening process. Occasionally I have to go into PS and do a little content-aware fill for some more sky.

    Oops, Barbara, please excuse me for posting a photo - didn't mean to hijack!!

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,405Super Moderators moderator

    Was this a single row of frames, or was this a multiple row array of frames, Sara?

    Like you I shoot tons of multiple frame panos, but for arrays of frames I begin to think about using a multiple frame pano array tool.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • sarasphotossarasphotos Major grins Augsburg, GermanyPosts: 2,180Registered Users Major grins

    This was actually a multi-row pano of 24 images. I wish I'd shot a bit more sky...

  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaPosts: 421Registered Users Major grins

    Oops, Barbara, please excuse me for posting a photo - didn't mean to hijack!!

    No problem Sara @sarasphotos. All posts are generating info I can use, so I don't consider it hijacking. Maybe in a thread where a photo is posted for criticism it could be an issue, but in a technique thread where additional comments and photos posted by anyone further the discussion and information it's not a problem for me, as the OP.

    ~~Barbara
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