After-Before Friday Forum

Kent ABFriday After Pan (Week 19)

The Final Image (After)

For the past four months-plus Stacy Fischer of VisualVenturing has sponsored the After-Before Friday Forum where photographers can display examples of how they process their images to accomplish their creative vision.  Sometimes the changes are substantial; other times they can be minimal.   My submission for this week’s Forum is an example of minimal change (if you don’t count the photomerge steps).   The “After” version shown above has undergone a few adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and the only actions taken in Photoshop were a simple Photomerge, a cropping, and some sharpening.  The scene is the city of Pittsburgh taken from the sidewalk across the street from a restaurant where we had stopped for dinner (Details on location are at the end of the post)

Kent ABFriday Before (Week 19)

Original Raw Image (left side)

 The image above is one of the two photographs that were merged.  Both had the same exposure (Nikon D800E on tripod with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens extended to 70mm; 1/6th sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 1600).  The reason for the high ISO and wide-open aperture is the moving boat in the river.

Kent ABFriday Before 02 Week 19

Adjustments Made in ACR Dialog Window

Opening the images in Adobe Camera RAW, I made only four adjustments, the same for both images.  The screen capture above shows the changes (red arrows).  The specific settings were:

Highlights: Decrease to -39; Shadows: Increase to +45; Clarity: Increase to +18 Vibrance: Increase to +14.

Kent ABFriday Before 03 Week 19

File > Automate > Photomerge

The two images were then opened in Photoshop and processed through the Photomerge routine.  The screen capture above shows the command sequence which is under “File” on the main command line of Photoshop.  After clicking on “Photomerge” (red arrow), the Photomerge Dialog window appears as shown below.

Kent ABFriday Before 04 Week 19

Photomerge Display Window

The screen capture above shows the dialog window for the Photomerge routine.  If the images are open, click on “Add Open Files” (red arrow) and the image files will be listed (other red arrow).  Usually, the default selections of “Auto” and “Blend Images Together” (yellow arrows) will do the job.  Click “OK” and the system will chug away for a little while and then display the results.

Kent ABFriday Before 05 Week 19

The screen capture above shows a small portion of the merged image and the layers palette (red arrow) showing a separate layer for each image.  The white areas in the mask icons represent the section of the image that was used. The blue arrow shows a section of the irregular border created during the routine.

Kent ABFriday Before 06 Week 19

Merged Panorama Before Cropping

The image above shows the full panorama immediately after the merging is completed.  The borders are always irregular (red arrows), often much more than shown here.  The next step, before any further actions are taken, is to flatten the image.  The only remaining step in this example is a crop to eliminate the uneven edges, producing the final image shown below.  Sharpening should not be applied until the image is sized for printing.

Kent ABFriday After Pan (Week 19)

 Final Panorama

The location for capturing this image is across the street from the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto located at 1411 Grandview Avenue #2 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It is one of the better restaurants in the city and the window seats boast a view pretty close to this image.   Because the vista is pretty spectacular at twilight, it’s unlikely you will have the sidewalk all to yourself.  But if you are visiting Pittsburgh, this is a location you may want to check out.But before you go there, you should check out the other submissions to Week 19 at Visual Venturing.

16 thoughts on “After-Before Friday Forum

  1. Pingback: After-Before Friday Week 19 | Visual Venturing

    • Thanks! I appreciate your thoughts. It is a great view from that location. Although a commercial photographer was also there doing a portrait of a young couple, we managed to stay out of each other’s way.

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  2. I consider photomerge as a minor adjustment a bit like a film developing in the developing tub. Great adjustments, just goes to show that if it is good in camera then there is not much work to do.

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  3. Robin, your pictures are always just so stunning, filled with wonderful sharp details and great composition. And, oh, to have a camera that could function so well with such a high ISO.

    I was just introduced to Photomerge in a class I took two weekends ago – who knew a little button could be so powerful 🙂 I haven’t played with it yet, of course, because I need the right photos to do so, but I loved seeing it in action in your post!

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    • Thanks, Stacy. I appreciate your comments. I find that I am using the photomerge tool quite a bit these days. Often I could take the single shot with a wider angle setting but those lenses tend to exaggerate the distance of more distant objects (the moon can look more like a star when you have it down to 14mm). I just finished hanging the last of my new prints for this upcoming open studio weekend in about 3 weeks and about 2/3 of them involved a photomerge.

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  4. I completely agree with Stacy about your photos Robin. This time, I want to say that the panorama you’ve gotten as result of combining the two previous photos is a fantastic image (I picture it as a large printing hanging on a wall)!
    Besides that, I like the way the passing boat emulates the whole city with its lights and their reflection in the water, like in the bridge. Another great work from you!

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  5. As always another great piece of work Robin. I haven’t used Photomerge so it was interesting to read your blog. I am sure you make it sound easier that it really is!!! I was wondering if you could use “content aware fill” on the borders, rather than crop – add to the image and particularly the sky rather than crop? I am not sure if it would work, just wondering if you tried it and if it works?

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  6. Hi, Janice: Thanks for the comments. And a very good question. Edit>Content-Aware>Fill can be a lifesaver with the uneven borders. I use it quite often for that very purpose and most of the time it solves the problem beautifully. The best times to use it are when you have open sky along the top border (clouds usually are no problem) and water or some other fairly uniform texture such as grass, a field, etc. in the foreground for the bottom border. Trouble usually arises when there is architecture or complex detail to be created and the empty space is relatively large. Side borders are a little more difficult because they usually have details that are hard to expand without distortions so it’s best to crop as close to the side borders as possible.

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