I've been playing with Photomerge in Photoshop and wanted to share what I've done in the camera and in Photoshop to get to the bottom photo.
Am I on track?
What should I be doing in the camera to make the computer work easier?
What techniques in Photoshop assist in blending images with varying exposures?
C&C on the end result is welcome, but I'm particularly interested in C&C on the camera and computer techniques to allow for successful panoramas.
So far, it's been hit and miss on panoramas for me.
I wanted a vertical panorama of a trail in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
There was a big difference in lighting between the trail and the tree tops.
Here's the trail
Here's the treetops
I found an exposure that didn't burn out any highlights or block up the shadows.
I used this setting on manual for all the shots to avoid the camera changing settings between images.
Same for focus - used manual focus to keep from changes during shooting.
Took all on levelled tripod with pan/tilt head so could keep vertical line.
Once I merged in Photoshop, I had a big difference in exposure between the top and bottom of the image.
I needed to lighten up the bottom part of the photo.
I created a Levels adjustment layer and after experimenting (for a long time), found I got the best effect on the trail by adjusting the midrange/gamma slider.
I had to move it a long way, and this lightened the trees too much, so I painted out everything above the dark green bushes (rhododendron) with black on the ajustment layer to eliminate the effect.
This left the affected area as only the trail and rhododendrons.
Still didn't quite like the effect - it was a big greyish, so I played with blending mode and found that linear dodge gave me the best combination of color/sharpness.
I ended up duplicating the adjustment layer twice, adjusted the opacity down a bit, and made some small tweaks in each and here is what I end up with.
I think I need to lighten up some of the tree trunks, or darken the trail a bit - it looks light compared to some of the tree trunks.
So I might not be totally finished, but a lot closer than when I started.
I came; I saw; I shot; I shared.