Friday, November 26, 2010

You Don't Have To Go Far In New England

I can’t even think about how many times we’ve jumped in the car, driven a couple hundred miles and not snapped the shutter once.  It used to be just a fun afternoon, a lark, some exploration, an excuse to get out of the house.  Now days there are other considerations.  The price of gas, the ecological effect, the waste of time and, with some folks, the social stigma of not being environmentally friendly.  On the other hand, the travel for today’s image was a walk down to the end of the driveway.  That’s the view we’d had since moving here more than thirty five years ago.  The big difference between then and now is the size of the trees.  We used to be able to see that hillside just barely visible through the trees.  The road we live on used to be the rail bed for the Shepaug Railroad.  The tracks began in the middle of our little town, go up the center of Main Street, down our road, over a trestle and out into the woods heading north for something over thirty miles.  One of these days, probably in spring, I’m going to walk the length and document what the route looks like today.  It’s people’s backyards, it gets lost for stretches and meanders through a couple of parks.  Most people don’t even know why there a berm cutting across their land.  Hopefully I can shed a little light (bad pun) on what is a part of the region’s history.  There’s a simple explanation about how today’s image was made.  It find out what it is, hit the “read more”.
It’s a simple pano. Camera held vertically and a half dozen shots taken in sequence. The camera never left my eye and I simply rotated around the axis I was standing on. There was no tripod, no precise degree shift, no fixed exposure, and no concern about any slight up or down movement from frame to frame. The images were brought into Adobe Photoshop CS5’s amazing panorama stitching application and it did the magic of bringing the pano to life.

Rather than crop the “waste” off the top, bottom and sides, Content Aware Fill was used to “fill in” any gaps due to the blending of the shots. Anywhere the background checkerboard pattern, indicating no image, was found the Magic Wand (W) was used to select the area. The Contiguous checkbox in the Magic Wand’s context options bar was check on. Once all four corners were selected, the area was expanded using the Select/Modify/Expand command by 20 pixels. The reason for this was to give the Content Aware Fill a bit of a bite into the actual image to start its calculations. I find this technique give a better fill, with more accurate extending of limbs and leaves.

Once that was done it was a “routine” job of saturating each color (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta) using individual Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers. I doubt if there was any masking in any of the Adjustment Layers, but it is a good thing to have the option available.