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A Better Panorama Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

23 December 2015

We've published a few panoramas of San Francisco here before. Somehow the subject never quite gets the justice it deserves. If it isn't the weather, it's the "atmospheric conditions."

After the Rain. From Point Bonita to Mount Diablo. Scroll with the elevators or your finger.

Here's the list in chronological order:

You'll notice most of them are from this year. For a good reason. We got better panorama tools this year in Lightroom and Photoshop, among others.

The big advance was in being able to stitch Raw images together and subsequently fine tune the tone and color in a Raw composite. We could pick a set of DNGs to merge and still edit a DNG after the merge.

This panorama was taken on the northern slope of Eureka Peak on Twin Peaks, giving us an unobstructed view north. To the west, you can make out Point Bonita, the lighthouse off the Marin headlands. To the east, you can see Mount Diablo glaring in the distance. The city itself lies gleaming in between.

We used Manual mode so the exposure would be constant across the composite image and we shot from north to east with the sun behind us, setting exposure by metering the midway point. That turned out to be f8.0 at 1/250 second and ISO 200 with a focal length of 60mm on a Nikon D300. We used a circular polarizer, too.

We took nine hand-held shots, generously overlapping them by at least a fourth. It had just rained a day or two earlier and the air was clear. No atmospheric conditions to ruin things.

Aspect Ratio. That's a 13:1 aspect ratio.

Our depiction here is necessarily severely reduced. The scrollable image at the top of this story is 6,506 x 500 pixels, roughly 15 percent of the full resolution image which turned out to be 26,099 x 3,362 pixels. So what you see up there is, well, a thumbnail.

So, you know, we still haven't done the subject justice.

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