Sunday, November 7, 2010

Heron Pond, Vertical HDR Panorama Test

 This is my first attempt at a vertical HDR stitched panorama, made from 25 separate exposures.  I used the Acratech leveling base, Acratech GP ball head in the gimbal position, Acratech nodal rail and Really Right Stuff L-bracket holding a Nikon D700 in landscape position on a Gitzo Series 2 Basalt tripod.  The five pan positions started at the bottom.  Each pan position is five, one stop brackets processed in Nik HDR Efex with a custom preset I made for Heron Pond. The resulting five pan positions were assembled in Photoshop CS5.  I also used Photoshop to adjust the levels.  Then the stitched panorama was cropped in Lightroom 3.

This monochrome was made in Nik Silver Efex Pro using a custom split tone preset I created for landscapes.

Lens: Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.4 G 
Camera: Nikon D700
Exposure: ISO 200, five brackets each pan position around f/11.0 @ 1/20s, Auto WB, tripod
Lighting: Daylight
Location: Cache River Natural Area, Heron Pond GPS
Dates: Capture - October 29, 2010, Processing - November 7, 2010
Processing: RAW file in Lightroom 3, Nik HDR Efex, Photoshop CS5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 


benjamin gandhi-shepard said...

I'm loving this series from Heron Pond.

Preston Page said...

Thank you, Ben. It has been quite a bit of work, but I'm having a blast working through the technical challenges. Yesterday I made some 13x19 prints from the HDR panoramas. They look like they came from 5x7 film.

Ray Meibaum said...

Very nice, Preston. What kind of pixel dimensions are your stitched images? Also, it looks like the 50mm works very well as a focal length. Have you settled on 50mm as a standard for panoramas?

Preston Page said...

Thank you, Ray. The size varies quite a bit...

Pre-crop, this shot was one of the smaller ones at 4854x7152 or 34.7 mega-pixels. After the perspective corrections, crop and zip compression, it was only 3933x6955 at 135MB, or the equivalent of a 27.4 mega-pixel capture. Post crop on the horizontal panorama was 9014x4023, or about 36 mega-pixels. Something to keep in mind, though, is that because of the HDR processing, these are full 16-bit, Prophoto color space pixels, not the 12 or 14 bit Adobe color space pixels in the RAW files.

I like the 50mm for landscapes like this because you get the normal perspective and vanishing point. Being small, sharp, bright and prime also work in its favor.
I don't know I'd call it a standard after a few test shots. I want to try taking more shots with a longer focal length. Because it is a telephoto design, the 180mm will work on the Acratech nodal rail. I just need a few good subjects.