So, I have been watching these tutorials by Serge Ramelli, a French photographer. He works a lot with Adobe Lightroom, a powerful piece of software I’ve really am glad to be introduced to. Very, very powerful stuff. If you have time, I’d go to photoserge.com and watch his free tutorials.
That said, I have had a chance to merge a few of his tutorials into one project. When I am leaving work, it is that magic hour all photographers crave; when the sun is setting, casting a soft light and the city lights have begum to come on. I was walking past this scene. It looked beautiful but my lens was not wide enough. There was a street behind me but as it was rush hour, I could not step backwards any more else become road kill.. What to do?
Well, I took a meter reading, set my camera manually, tilted it vertically, and took several photos, each time, turning it a little with the intension of creating a panoramic photo. Here are the raw images.
Ok, I know I have the individual photos and they do not look impressive, yet so, on to stitching them together. In Lightroom, I made some small adjustments to the first of the photos; expand the tonal range, warm up the photo a little, add some sharpening, etc. When I was happy with the results, I selected all the images and then hit the ‘Sync’ button. This will apply the changes made to that one image to all images which I selected. Then with all the images still selected, I right click, choose ‘Edit In’ and pick ‘Merge to Panorama in Photoshop’. This will automatically open Adobe Photoshop and stitch the images together into one large image. Here’s the result.
Fine, it doesn’t look that good. First, just crop in on the image so there is no blank space left. Now, nothing is quite vertical. In Photoshop, there is a filter, ‘Adaptive Wide Angle’ and there is a great tool to help align the vertical lines. Once this is done and still in Photoshop, go to ‘File’ and click ‘Close’. The program will ask if the file will be saved. Select ‘Yes’. This will import the new image back into Lightroom. Once there, first thing I did was lighten the image a little and expand the tonal range.
Looks a lot better already. Now I have that wide angle of view I wanted. Compositionally, there is a great foreground element, middle ground elements and background elements. Now I can start my work. First, I wanted to expand the tonal range. It just looked a bit too flat. Then I wanted to bring out the warmer colors from the sunset. I will not go into detail here on what I did to manipulate the image. It is best to go to the free tutorials by Serge Ramelli. The rest of my edits took not much more than a half hour.
And the final result?
What do you think? All told, maybe about an hour’s worth of work. There are a few more tweaks I want to do but this is close to my end product. And the best part about this is, Lightroom is non-destructive editing. All the changes are made to a data file; the original image is never touched. So, no matter what is done to the original photo, it is never changed or altered.
It would be great to hear your feedback and I do urge you to look at those free tutorials.