Lensbaby Panorama Photography

OK – it’s been a flurry of posts recently as I’m trying to clear my backlog – and, oddly enough, this will be the third straight post with a car photo.

And, yes, the title reads correctly: Lensbaby Panorama.

It’s an idea that I’ve had clanking around since I picked the lens up.  Everything is all fuzzy except for a very specific sharp area – and it’s all stitched together with Photomerge – which sounds easy enough…

(Note: A quick search will turn up a few others that have traveled this way.  It appears we’re currently a small crowd.)

While at the 2009 Portland International Auto Show I tried my second Lensbaby panorama.  As for the first?  Well, it’s buried somewhere in my photo archive – and is not yet stitched together.

So, why a car?

First, the ‘57 Chevy is an iconic American car and it has that great silver trim running down the side – a great focal point.

Second, I had a Lensbaby right there on the camera and I wanted to try this technique.

Some details:

This image used 10 photos shot with the Lensbaby Composer at f/4 on the Canon 50D.  Instead of twisting at the hip – I mostly repositioned myself along the length of the car for each image (this is probably not good technique – but then again – neither is using a Lensbaby for a panorama).  After a lot of futzing with Photomerge – it looked like Perspective view was going to give me fewer bad alignment points.  This also gave the shot some unexpected elements – which I think works – at least for a test image.

I did have to crop some of the individual images prior to the merge – as I was getting some sharp and some blurry segments on that center trim.

Once I chose Perspective – the final image couldn’t be cropped without losing part of the car.  Tradeoffs!  I chose to keep the whole car in the image, flattened the layers, and filled the white space with black – keeping the jagged edges as a sort of frame.Lensbaby Panorama - 57 Chevy-1

Then I thought about it a bit more – and I imagined that a lot of car folks weren’t going to be happy with a funky ‘57 Chevy (even if I kinda liked it).  So, I had to make a run at a Reposition Only image.

The lines don’t align as well (say that 10 times fast…) – but it does look more like the history books and less like an old taxi with oval wheels.  I also like that I have photo to the edge of the image – and not the jagged frame.Lensbaby Panorama - 57 Chevy-3

And on both images – to help isolate the car from the busy background – just a bit of layers, erase, and a dash of B&W.

A few thoughts:

  • Take lots of images – more than you might take for other panoramas.
  • LB images can be difficult to align using just the algorithms in Photomerge.
  • At least in Elements 6 (I don’t know about CS4 or Elements 7) – only the Perspective and Reposition Only settings in Photomerge allow the user to help align the images (see previous point).
  • Just for fun – I tried the Cylindrical setting – and Elements dumped the job.  Not satisfied – I tried this a few more times – with the same results.  I might try again on later images – just to see if it’s a trend.
  • Patience.  The image might take a bit of elbow grease.
  • Patience.  The image might not work.  I didn’t show the Ducati motorcycle or Lotus Elise panoramic images…
  • Have fun (remember – it’s a Lensbaby).

4 thoughts on “Lensbaby Panorama Photography”

  1. A very interesting technique! I like the results. It makes “real life” look like a scaled down model, if that makes sense.


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