My lady and I went for a long drive yesterday all the way to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Since we’re from Maine, the drive wasn’t tremendously long, but it was long enough. Anyway, the trip offered a cornucopia of photographic opportunities. I mean, really. If I lived nearer to the White Mountains, I’d never run out of things to take photos of. It’s beautiful and wonderful and everything in between, and all we did was drive through it. I can’t even imagine how many photos we would have taken if we had stopped along the way, more than we did.
We did make one stop early on. It was near the access road to climb Mount Washington (by car). There’s a parking lot right across the street that offered the view of a lifetime. I knew I had to pull over to grab some pictures and I’m glad I did.
Okay, there are tons of tips you can use when taking landscape photos. Some of them have to do with focus and others have to composition, while even others have to do with using the elements of the shots to your benefit. What I’d like to discuss today is how you can use the panoramic technology contained inside of Adobe Camera Raw to not only merge your multiple photos into one, but to keep those photos as high quality as possible. After all, you may want to print something as beautiful as what I’ll show you below and the more quality, the better.
When you’d like to take a really wide shot of a landscape, you always have the option of using a wide angle lens. I’ve done that in the past, but what I was left with was a very beautiful photo with not the best quality. Because of the distance and the sheer lack of ability of my camera to capture as much data as I’d like it to, the pixel count simply wasn’t up to snuff most of the time. It was because of this that I came up with the idea of merging three or more (or even two) high quality independent images to create a super image.
Let’s take a look at the original photos that I’ll be using for this post today.
I’ll keep those pictures as thumbnails, so they’re easier to see. You can click on them to make them larger if you want.
To merge these photos, I’ll be using Adobe Bridge along with Adobe Camera Raw. At the end, I’ll use Photoshop as well for some minor tweaks.
To start off, I’ll select all three images in Bridge. Then, I’ll click on the Open in Camera Raw button up top.
From there, all three photos will launch into Camera Raw.
Once the images are opened in Camera Raw, I’ll select all of them by clicking on the top one in the left column and then holding down the Shift key on my keyboard and clicking on the last one in the left column.
From here, I’ll click on the small menu that sits at the top of the column. Inside the menu, I’ll select the Merge to Panorama option.
If all the photographs are sequential and actually contain elements of each other in them, Camera Raw shouldn’t have any problems with merging them. It will take just a few seconds and when it’s all said and done, you’ll get something that looks like this:
Looks pretty good, right? So you may be asking, “Okay, why would I want that? It looks skinny and I could get that with my wide angle lens.” Well, I would answer that this composite measured more than 10,000 pixels wide, which means quality. It’s clear as a bell. A traditional photo would only give me around 5,000 pixels wide. Let’s see part of this image at 100% size.
That’s the top of Mount Washington. I’d say that’s pretty clear and it’s not something I would ever be able to capture at this quality with a wide angle lens alone.
So, my tip for today is, when taking landscape photos, consider using the panorama feature in either Adobe Camera Raw or Adobe Lightroom to maintain quality and to give some stunning images.
After merging the individual photos, Camera Raw will save the panorama as a unique file (DNG) and will store it, usually, in the same folder as the others came from. At that point, edits can be made in Camera Raw and then the file can be moved into Photoshop for sizing and further editing if necessary. Let’s take a look at the file image after I push some sliders around in Camera Raw and then crop the image to 800 pixels wide in Photoshop.
I removed a car that was on the road over at the right and that telescope that was showing in the left corner.
Do you have any further suggestions for a project like this? I’d love to hear about them. Thanks for reading!