Creating the Blackwater Panorama, Part 1

After quite a bit of work, we have created and listed an enormous panorama.  This was an exciting project that took us months, so we wanted to share the process.

Capturing the Original Images

We were lucky enough to take part in a photographic expedition to Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay in Fall 2010.  We spent the day exploring the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.  Toward the end of the expedition, just as the sun was setting, we came across a spot where the water was turning from blue to black, the clouds were piling up high, and the sun was just striking a stand of golden trees and grasses.

Using a tripod and ballhead, we oriented the camera in portrait mode to capture more of the scene from top to bottom.  We rotated the camera through a 180 degree access (remembering to first remove the polarizer, so that the sky wouldn’t have any dark arcs).  Altogether, we took 14 images, each overlapping by about 20%.  For those who are interested in the nitty gritty, we were using a Canon 1D Mark IV with the Canon 24-70 mm L lens at f/5.6 and 1/250th second).

Stitching the Files Together

The images sat on our hard drive for a few weeks as we got busy with other projects.  One winter day, though, we decided to see what we could do with them.  Creating a large panorama was the easiest part of this process.  Photoshop (CS5 Extended) took care of all the details for us, creating a file that was 10075 by 720 pixels.  At this point, it looked like this:

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