Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bear Mountain Lookout

Here's the view from atop Bear Mountain Lookout in the Black Hills. This is a composite of 11 photographs. I used Hugin to stitch them together. Click the photo to see a slightly bigger version.

Kristopher clued me in on Hugin. He has some nice panoramas on his blog. I like this one of the HHH Metrodome.

UPDATE: I replaced the photo with a bigger one. Click on it to see.

Also, some notes on how I made this: I didn't use a tripod. I was fairly careful to keep the horizon straight as I turned and took each photo. I was on manual exposure to avoid differences between the sections of the final result. I was not on manual white balance, though I probably should have been. In this case, it didn't seem to matter much. I took many more photos than would be strictly necessary -- I think about double. That probably made for better results. Another thing I wish I'd done -- take the photos in portrait mode rather than landscape. I could have included more on both the top & bottom of the photo.

I found Hugin very easy to use. I had previously tried version 0.6; the current 0.7 gave me much better results, and is easier to use. It has weird display problem: when selecting control points (this is where you tell the program where the same point, e.g. the tip of a tree, is on two adjacent photos), it would sometimes obscure part of the screen with a partial copy of the photo. I worked around it by just knowing where the hidden "add" button was, and clicking there. I don't know if this is a Mac OS X-specific problem.

I didn't read any of the documentation or look at any examples. I was clicking away ignorantly the whole time, and it still gave me pretty good results. If you look very closely, you can find a spot or two where the stitching doesn't quite match up. I went back and added a few more control points in one case, which made it better but certainly not perfect.

Bottom line: Try it! It's really fun. You might want something faster than an old memory-starved iMac G4, though.

2 comments:

Kristopher said...

Nice stitch! I find myself wasting a lot of time playing around with these things. I'm getting my first "planet" ready to post. :)

Joseph said...

Thanks. I should host it somewhere else besides a free Flickr account, though -- the size restriction doesn't work well for this kind of image. Or I could pony up the dough for paid account. Or I could be a cool kid like you, and host my own server...

Your Ft. Snelling pics are quite nice.