For some time I've wanted to create a large pano print to hang over the living room couch. I have a framed print there now but it's just not big enough. I'm talking about something about 4 feet wide!
To print something that large takes some preparation. A single 18 Megapixel photo cropped down wouldn't have the printed resolution I was looking for. I needed to take several images and stitch them together to create a wide pano. I wanted a landscape scene that would look good with the colors in the couch. I had made several attempts but never cared for what I got. Either the light was not good, the colors didn't match, the scene was not great or the stitch didn't work. On a recent photo workshop I had the conditions I was looking for.
I wanted to the pano to be wide enough to give me some flexibility for cropping to print. I decided to make a series of 7 images. In this case I was looking into a sunrise and the range of light was going to be more extreme than my digital camera sensor was going to be able to handle. I needed to take three different exposures at each point in the arc to capture the full range of light so I could blend them together later using HDR software. That meant I had to take 21 images! The sun was coming up and the light was changing so I wouldn't get a lot of chances at this. To make the stitch come out I set the camera exposure on manual, exposure bracketing -1EV, 0EV and +1EV, aperture at f/14, ISO at 100 and set to daylight white balance, removed the polarizer filter, and made sure the camera and tripod were level. These are all things I learned the hard way on the other failed attempts.
When I got home I found I had what I had been hoping for. I ran each set of three bracketed images through the Nik HDR Efex software to create seven new single HDR images using saved the settings so I could process each set exactly the same. I then used Hugin pano stitching software to create a final image that was wide enough to fill 4 feet. The end result could have gone up to 6 1/2 feet wide without having to scale up!
For printing I wanted to create a Triptych, which is three prints hung side by side. In this case I wanted to create the appearance of looking out windows to a beautiful landscape. Enter Groupon codes for 16x20 gallery wrapped canvas prints from Canvas on Demand (I'm getting hooked on Groupon). I divided my photo into three 16x20 panels and placed my order. It's going to be a while before I get my prints, but when hung on the wall the should look something like this
I'm real happy with the way this came out and can't wait to see the actual prints. Check back in a few weeks for the end results.