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Old 12-16-2012, 12:25 PM   #822
The Tourist
dave6253's Avatar
Joined: May 2006
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Oddometer: 3,102
Thanks Mike and Steve.

The individual images were not very sharp. I think I actually locked in a slight focus error and shot 135 images that way. Doh! I used my flimsy tripod and shot vertically at 34mm @ f11 iso100. I overlapped much more that I should have and ended up in 27 different positions to complete the 360 degree circle. I was shooting 5 exposure brackets at 1 EV apart; 27x5=135 RAW files! This took quite awhile to work all the way around. I almost ran out of sunlight before I got to the sun. I ended up getting a nice sunstar, but the overlapping shot wiped it out when I stitched them. I am contemplating redoing the processing to fix that and some of the white balance, but that will be a ton of work.

I first lightly processed the RAWs in Lightroom 3.6 with no sharpening. I sent 5 at a time to Photomatix Pro 4.2 to merge into HDRs. Here is where most of the sharpening effect took place. I like to set the "Details Contrast" slider near the max. All 27 images got the exact same HDR process and were sent back to Lightroom as JPEGs. I then applied mild sharpening at level 40 and processed them for the final look I wanted.

The 27 JPEGs were then stitched into a 360 degree panorama using Microsoft ICE (freeware). I prefer this software over ArcSoft Panorama Maker. The single JPEG was now over 42MB! I sent this back into Lightroom where I sharpened it slightly at level 18 and completed the final processing, including cropping some of the foreground. I had to re-size it for uploading. Since such a large file is compressed into a smaller size it probably helps it appear sharper.

This took me about 1.5 hours, which is why I'll probably leave it alone, for now.
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