January 20, 2020 ·

David Osborn
Photo: The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain

Panoramic photography can create photographs with a psychological quality no other format can.
Satisfy the logical side of our brain that we are seeing something realistic but overlay an unrealistic
artistic layer and we create a mental dilemma about what exactly are we looking at. A natural field of
view, corrected perspective, strong three-dimensional qualities and the detail of a photograph all add
confidence to the illusion of reality. Confidence then shaken by the final painterly treatment. The result
is a photograph that captivates us; one we want to study more. The key is understanding what rules can
and cannot be broken, then implementing those rules into the panoramic photograph at the Photoshop
retouching stage. I teach the whole process of panoramic photography, PTGui and Photoshop
retouching from camera to print on my landscape photography workshops. Please visit my website for
further information – See link at end of this article.

What is Panoramic Photography


Panoramic photography is stitching multiple, overlapping digital photographs together to make one
large panoramic photograph. The best image stitching software to join the images together, creating seamless, high quality panoramas is PTGui from the Netherlands. Best shooting practice dictates the use
of a panoramic head with the camera mounted on a special bracket that can be rotated on the tripod.
The panoramic head is designed to rotate the camera around the nodal point of the lens, so the image
content stitches correctly. Any focal length of lens can be used, but each focal length of lens requires an
initial calibration on the panoramic head. There is no limit to the number of photographs that can be
stitched together, and the initial raw images are taken in rows from left to right working top to bottom
until you have captured the complete scene. Popular panoramic heads being Novoflex, Germany and
Really Right Stuff, USA.

Other alternatives to PTGui for stitching panoramas include Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. In reality
PTGui is the only choice to ever consider. PTGui is incredibly fast. What PTGui does in seconds, you may
wait over half an hour with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom; if they complete the process at all. Adobe
Photoshop and Lightroom are OK for a small number of images, but not volume. However, there is a
major reason to choose PTGui above all else; its ability to correct vertical distortion – all without losing
image quality. Photoshop requires stretching the image after creating the final panoramic photograph to
correct the verticals; this destroys image sharpness in the stretched areas, brutally. With PTGui you
move the complete image to correct the verticals in a preview first – before you create the final
panoramic photograph, with no loss in sharpness at all. There are other benefits with PTGui, these are
the two that make PTGui essential.

Photo: Ghent, Belgium

Why Choose Panoramic Photography


Panorama or Panoramic photography gives images with a very natural looking perspective when
compared to taking the same image with a wide-angle lens. The wide-angle lens introduces distortions
that interrupt our perception of the photograph looking natural. This natural perception increases the
psychological connection with the scene, increasing the feeling that we are standing as part of the scene
when viewing the photograph. As viewers we connect better with the panoramic photograph because it
has less artifacts to remind us it is a photograph. The accepted field of vision for our eyes is 120-degrees
including peripheral vision. The average field of vision of my panoramic photographs is also by chance,
120-degrees. PTGui shows the angle as part of the image stitching process. To get the same 120-degree
field of view with a single lens, would require about a 10mm fisheye lens on a DSLR camera with terrible,
unnatural distortions.

Further enhancing the psychological feeling of being part of the scene, is the fact that panoramic
photography creates very large prints with incredible detail if taken with good equipment – I use a Nikon
D800E with a Sigma 50mm | ART lens, the quality is incredible – equal to a Phase One digital back and
for a great deal less financial investment. A panoramic photograph that has a natural field of view equal
to our eyes, matched with a print large enough to fill our field of view – as a viewer, then add to this an
incredible clarity and lack of photographic artifacts – all adds up to making a seriously powerful
statement when displayed. Theoretically, this is looking at a 60-inch x 90-inch print from about 30 inches
away. The scale of old master paintings was always part of their power, yet photographic prints were
always small. Panoramic photography allows us to create prints on the scale of old master paintings yet
with the detail of photography.

Photo: Gondola Builders, Venice, Italy

Panoramic Photography ~ Photoshop Retouching

One of the hardest problems of creating panoramic images is editing the sheer volume of raw files
created when you consider all the bracketed sets and the different light conditions. An additional issue is
being unable to see immediately what each stitched panoramic set looks like as a final panoramic
photograph; as you do with normal image previews. For both reasons I stitch and create a small jpeg of
each panoramic set so I can edit the panoramic images as normal. PTGui does have a raw converter but I
find it does change the image dramatically. I prefer to raw convert the files into .Tiff format, then import
these into PTGui. Done this way there is no color or tonal change in PTGui’s panoramic output. Following
my normal Photoshop retouching workflow, I use PTGui to create different panoramic images that all
align in Photoshop, such as bracketed images. Panoramic images do require a great deal more computer
resources though.

Photoshop retouching the panoramic photograph follows my normal Photoshop retouching philosophy
of composite the different images together to create a single layered file that represents a perfect raw
file taken by the camera. This is followed by creating a technically perfect image with a three-
dimensional quality and finally the creative and artistic overlay that makes the panoramic photograph a
personal artistic statement. The power of the panoramic photograph is further enhanced by playingsome psychological games in the Photoshop retouching. The panoramic photograph is already very
natural looking due the field of view, this is further enhanced by giving the panoramic photograph a real
sense of the three-dimensional qualities of light, form, texture and spatial distance. The quality an
essential foundation layer that allows the final artistic layer to be radical, yet still allow the panoramic
image to be perceived as “real”.

Photo: Fürstenzug Mural, Dresden, Germany

Panoramic Photography ~ The Psychological Dilemma

Expanding on the Photoshop retouching of panoramic photographs. There are two categories of
Photoshop retouching; logical and artistic. The logical is based on science and you have no choice but to
do by the book, the artistic you have freedom and creative license over. The logical category is creating
all the elements that create the three-dimensional illusion in the panoramic photograph. Photoshop
retouching to enhance the logical story of light and objects that feel solid and round with texture then
the feeling of spatial depth. We simply apply all the rules of human visual perception; how we perceive
the real world, to the landscape panoramic photograph. There are only a few rules and because they are
based on scientific fact, they are all totally logical; we just need the Photoshop retouching skills to
implement them. The artistic category are the panoramic photographs emotional qualities like mood,
drama, atmosphere and color.

We can play a powerful psychological game in the Photoshop retouching of the panoramic photograph
that makes the panoramic very powerful. To explain; imagine the viewer of the panoramic has two
halves to their brain. The logical half and an emotional half – two people. The logical half is uncreative,
only interested in facts, dull and boring. The emotional half is his total opposite personality; creative, no
interest in facts, loves art and color. Problem is the logical side is always boss. When “they” view a
panoramic photograph, the logical one looks at the panoramic first to check it contains all the correct
facts that make the panoramic feel “real”, only if it does, he allows the creative one to have a look. If it
doesn’t the panoramic is rejected as just an “artistic effect”. The mind game is to create a panoramic
that creates a mental conflict; “it looks real, but it doesn’t”. We can make radical artistic changes
provided we always satisfy the logical criteria first.

Photo: The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain

PTGui Panoramic Photography Conclusion

Stitched landscape photography using PTGui can create truly amazing panoramic photography but there
are “prices to pay”. The file size; requiring a great deal of computer memory and resources during
Photoshop retouching. Composition in the camera is very different because you can’t compose the
image “in-camera” but “composing after shooting”. This requires looking at the scene with a great deal
more care and attention to look and see how objects align; relying more on mental visualization in your
mind to compose the panoramic, not the camera. Lastly, it takes practice to get used to how PTGui will
render the panoramic using the different projections. However, for the increase in work required,
stitched landscape photography using PTGui panorama software creates landscape photography no
other process can. A wide natural looking photograph creating a feeling of “really being there” yet
disconcerting by its artistic rendering.

Please visit my website at: www.DavidOsbornPhotography.Com for workshop information and tutorials.
Information about outdoor photography workshops. Panoramic photography workshops and Photoshop
retouching tuition.

David Osborn

January 2020

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Born and raised in London, David began his working life as a news photographer and picture editor with Reuters News Agency in London, covering everything from royalty to conflict. David then moved into corporate photography shooting annual reports for international companies mainly in the electronics industry. David spent 35 years working as a professional photographer all over the world. Over the years, David combined his passion for the outdoors and photography with his interest in old master painting, shooting his own landscape photography and selling them in galleries in the USA and Dubai. This grew into his full time work now, teaching landscape photography and Photoshop. David runs personal photography workshops all over the world, mainly in Europe, teaching his unique landscape photography and Photoshop skills to photographers as one week personal workshops. Teaching photographer's to use photography as a creative and artistic medium for creating beautiful fine art landscape photographs with mood and drama. It has often been said, David's photographs look like paintings. This is what makes his photographs unique. Drawing on a lifetime of professional working photography experience, and his detailed knowledge of old master painting techniques, David combines both. The detail of photography and the qualities of painting to create unique and beautiful landscape photographs.

You May Also Enjoy...

Landscape & Environment

Of beautiful trees and ambitious cameras and lenses. Part 2- where we’re going.

September 12, 2021 ·

Dan Wells

FacebookTweet An ambitious camera or lens is one that allows, in some way, the making of images that could not have been made before, or


Landscape & Environment

Figures in a Landscape: The Art of Kazuyoshi Nomachi (Rediscover)

July 14, 2021 ·

nicktaylor

FacebookTweet Japanese photographer Kazuyoshi Nomachi shares with his contemporaries Sebastião Salgado and and Steve McCurry an ability to turn photojournalism – the art of capturing