London panoramas from multiple photographs

One of Photoshop’s features gives you the ability to stitch multiple pictures together to make a single picture (yes I know several other apps do this, but the point about Photoshop is that your raw material can be just that – RAW. The ones used in the pictures below are 6000×4000 pixels each, at the maximum quality my Nikon allows).

My (not over-expensive) 50mm lens is good enough to capture detail in each of the components, and each of them is correctly exposed and focussed for its particular content, as opposed to the compromises which must be made if a single shot must embrace far and near, light and dark.

You can stand close to a building and capture it all in a way that would require a very wide-angle lens to achieve and which may well result in distortion. If you cover the same position twice, anything not present in both will (usually) be removed, which helps eradicate passers-by.

The result is a very large picture in which you can either survey the whole or zoom in on detail. In practice it is rather hard to show off this feature since the end-result is too big for most web users – the original of the Holborn Viaduct picture below is 392Mb and it is 17,269 pixels wide.

Here’s the west end of Holborn Viaduct, taken from the north-east side:

You can’t get further back than the inner side of the opposite pavement. The building on the right is very light; under the bridge is very dark. There is constant movement of traffic and people. This picture involved 18 different photographs; it would have been wider if I had taken a couple more of the sky above the bridge to the left .

Here’s a simpler one – Temple Bar by St Paul’s Cathedral, made up of 12 pictures.

Detail can be cut from the full-size version, like this:

Lastly, here is the wonderful Fire Fighters Memorial south of St Paul’s. 33 pictures went into the original. Once again, I missed out the sky, this time to top right, so a single panorama taking in both the height of the dome and the length of the cathedral doesn’t work.

I do, however, get two pictures out of it, one vertical and anther horizontal, neither of which could have been taken in one shot without a wide-angle lens.

Because each element was taken separately, each is in focus – in the full version both the text on the plinth and that on St Paul’s is readable; to achieve the same result in a single shot you would probably need a tripod to get the requisite depth of field.

Here the horizontal one, stretching from well left of the memorial as far as St Augustine’s at the far end of St Paul’s.

Once you have that much, and at the highest resolution that the camera will allow, you can pick any part of the picture for angles and effects you may not have thought about at the time you took the picture:



About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
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