I've been working on this over the past two weeks, its pretty much finished, I learned a lot about how to use ON1 Photo Raw and generally am very happy with how it works. There are some limitations, however development is active. There are also some notes on how I made the image, and a larger version is on 500px.
Taken from a plateau at 2840m in a wilderness area of the Sölden Resort. To the left is the Rotkogel (2946m) who's slopes wind down towards the Pollestal Valley and then rise again towards the Puitkogel (3345m) and Hohe Geige (3395m) in the distance.
The intention of the photo is to show, from two different perspectives, the relationship between the Mountain Peak, Plateau and Valley.
Sunny, cold, very windy with deep fine power snow and some risk of avalanche(!?!). A brief few minutes of partial cloud cover allowed for an even exposure, the shots needed for the panorama (12, of which 9 were used) were taken in a very brief 20 seconds which ensured consistent exposure and white-balance.
Sony A7ii with Batis 25mm @f8 & ISO100, Manual Focus set to 6m (DOF 3 .. Inf), Aperture Priority, Multi Meter Exposure, WB set to Cloudy, Exposure Comp +0.3EV. All of these settings were preprogrammed to memory position M1 so that I could select them with heavy gloves on.
Really Right Stuff Tripod (TQC-14), Compact Pano-Gimbal Head (PG-01) and an L-Plate.
USB Shutter Release.
Individual Image Processing
Using ON1 Photo Raw
The purpose of this processing was to provide a good basis for the Panorama Stitching. To that affect the following were adjusted for all images
- Tone - With “Show Clipping” activated the Whites and Blacks were adjusted, +8 and -9 respectively.
- Tone - Highlights -10 and Shadows +16.
- Color - Temperature +3, Tint -18, Saturation +2, Vibrance +3. Temperature and Tint (aka White Balance) was adjusted by increasing Saturation and Vibrance to 100 and then adjusting the respective sliders until the inflection point was identified - for the Temperature Slider between blue and yellow, and for the Tint Slider between green and magenta.
- Sharpening - Progressive (does not cause halo artefacts) increased until the image first became crisp, and then no more as to avoid introducing false detail.
- Tone Enhancer - a Curve adjustment to darken the sky, which because of its impact on the shadows in the image, was masked to the sky area only (yes, all 9 photos were individually masked - ON1 Photo Raw is remarkably efficient at masking).
- Dynamic Contrast - Opacity 40, Small 8, Medium 15, Large 20. A very light adjustment to further crispen the image with careful attention not to introduce false detail.
- Sunshine - Opacity 20, Amount 50.
After that the Exposure of each image was adjusted, minor only in both positive and negative direction, so that exposure was consistent across all images. This was to reduce the amount of blending which would occur when generating the Panorama.
Constructing the Panorama
The images were stitched using the Mercator Projection which causes less stretching at the top and bottom of the image. In this case that produced a nicely balanced image. There is not much to say here, when you use a Panorama Head the stitching is perfect.
Final Image Processing
Using ON1 Photo Raw
Despite the amount of effort to produce the Panorama Image some final processing is required. The image is without emotion and not quite coherent - i.e. it needs a vignette. My intention is to print the photo at a dimension of around 120x60cm so some of these adjustments related to doing that.
- Vignette 1 - Big Softy with opacity of 30, this is applied to the entire image.
- Vignette 2 - Big Softy with opacity of 25, this is masked with a Gradient so that it applies fully to the sky, partly to the diagonal Top-Left to Bottom-Right, and not to the snow in the lower left corner. The effect is to make the left side of the image visually dominant.
- Black and White - Opacity 20%, Preset “Blue”. This changed the tone of the Blue Sky, making it darker and more subtle. It also has a gentle impact on the snow.
- Sunshine - Opacity 12, Preset “Sunshine”. Just a little bit of sparkle.