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Torvikbukt - Panorama grande - ENG

Oppdatert: 19. aug. 2020

Torvikbukt is a beautiful village on Nordmøre. I am lucky enough to have family owning a cabin here, so when we were invited on a weekend trip here, I packed my camera with vivid dreams of a hefty panoramic image from Orsetsetra.

Sadly, unfortunate circumstances ruined my plans of a hike to Orsetsetra, but I was stuck on the idea of a panoramic image, so I decided it would happen anyway, if even only from the veranda. And to challenge myself a little extra, I got a clever idea to create a large panorama in combination with exposure blending, ie taking two pictures in each position, one overexposed and one underexposed. That way I could bring out the beautiful green colors in the terrain, and at the same time avoid the sky becoming too bright during the sunset I planned photographing. Then I would just stich everything together later. Easy!

By the way, I took a picture from the same place a little earlier this year, then with a single exposure. The idea was to make the next picture bigger and better than the previous one, because after all, you want to improve from time to time. Here is the original image:

At least the view from the veranda would not cause any complaints. But back to the present:

The problems started even before I started taking pictures. I had checked the time of sunset, but forgot to compensate for the fact that the sun in Torvikbukt does not go down on the horizon, but behind a mountain. Thus, the sunset began long before I had thought. I set up the tripod in a hurry, double-checked the camera settings (at least I learned that from the previous trip), and started shooting. The sun had now begun to disappear behind the mountain.

If you have ever studied a sunset in detail (obviously I have not), you may have been surprised at how fast the sun moves down into the sea or behind the mountain. When I started shooting on one side of the panorama, I quickly realized that I would not reach the sun until it was gone. Thus, I had to jump straight over to the frame of the sun, so that I reached it before it disappeared. In the chaos, I managed to underexpose the foreground, making it far too dark. Screw it, I thought, I'll fix it in Lightroom afterwards.

A few minutes later, I had finished shooting all the pictures of the panorama, and was then left with 10 pictures in 5 pairs, all mixed up due to stress, and one completely underexposed. And this was the easy part of the job! Here is an example of two pictures I wanted to merge to use the sky and the sea for one picture, and trees / fields on the other:

It is part of the story that the new moon, which is visible in the picture, a little later hung large and nice just above the mountain top. I thought it was cool, and planned to zoom all the way in on it with the peak below and take a fantastic moon picture. But when I returned after a short retreat on behalf of nature, it had already sunk behind the mountain. So the morale of the story is: If you have a nice picture in sight, then take it right away!

But back to the panorama. A few days later, I sit in front of the PC and think about how the heck I should manage to merge this puzzle into a beautiful panorama?

I will not bother the reader with all the details, but I can inform you that this occurred to me several times as a task that required a black belt in Photoshop. The challenge was that I wanted to use the sea from one picture, while the trees in front of the sea had to be taken from the other picture. And when I tried to make a layer mask that mixed these, the trees got a horrible halo around them, as drained with radioactive rain. I must have seen at least 50 Youtube videos in search of tips. Strategies I tried and that failed were:

  • HDR function in Photoshop: Automatic blending gave ugly results

  • Layer mask from channels: Gave transparent result

  • Layer mask from color range: Gave halo

  • Narrowing of selection: Removed branches and worked poorly

  • ... as well as a number of other techniques that did not work

In the end, I got a usable result by making a layer mask from channels, lowering levels to make the mask black and white and then removing the halo in the trees by painstakingly retrieving the background with a weak brush. The result was that the trees got darker where they had sea in the background, which does not look completely natural, but with a suitable balance it did not get too bad. I did this for all 5 pairs of photos, and it took hours. Finally, I sewed the images together into a panorama with Photoshop's panorama function, and the result was actually not too bad. I could finally call it for the night.

Sleep is never bad, and after relaxing a bit, and with an elevated self-esteem after completing the task to some extent, I started again with renewed energy. I found two promising videos that showed fringe removal techniques, and I came up with the "ingenious" idea (duh!) That I should merge the light exposures and the dark ones into their respective panoramas in Lightroom first, so that I instead of 10 layers in Photoshop would end up with 2. I got renewed faith that I could now raise the quality several notches.

To make a long story short, you can see the result here. And if you have endured this tedious story and read all the way here, it is a sign that either you are a photo nerd like me, or you have the aptitude to become one! :)

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