Enhancing the Panorama (Part 2 of the Blackwater series)

OK, so that initial panorama looked a little scary.  Oddly shaped, strange lines, dark tones.

Our first step toward bringing it where we wanted it:  cropping, drawing a frame around the picture that we wanted to emerge from that amorphous mess.  Initially, we settled on a simple rectangle, thinking we would leave the more sophisticated analysis of proportions until later.

Once we had a uniform rectangular shape, we were able to focus on the quality of the image itself.  Things looked pretty dark – too dark for us to print comfortably.  Luckily, we had shot the original files in RAW, at just 100 ISO, so we had a lot of headroom to bring details from the shadows, and, indeed, to increase the overall exposure.

At this point, the image was looking quite different (and we think better!):

However, we wanted to do more to bring you the scene as we remembered it.  We weren’t trying to change anything fundamental.  Instead, we wanted to make sure that what we saw on the screen matched what we had seen out on the Bay.

Some changes were easy:  We knew we wanted to crop out that road at the right.

Others took us a while to decide on.  We were puzzled by the way the water seemed to rise at the left of the image – not possible in the real world 🙂  Finally, we realized that the way we had positioned the camera made it seem like the left side was higher than the right.  We used Photoshop’s Free Transform tool to slowly bring the water level down, just a touch, to be sure that our horizons were uniformly level.

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