"Lost" Glacier Panos   found July 2009

For my Bday this year I got a wonderfully geeky gift.  A new piece of software for creating panoramic photos.  The software is called AutoPano and at $150 after the exchange rate its definitely not for the casual user.  A shame as it's easier to use than the free program I've been using the last 5 years.  I didn't intend on buying any new software as my copy of PanoTools has been doing very nicely for years, but I did have a couple of pictures that I could not get to stitch to my satisfaction so I thought I'd try a trial and see.  I should have known, Like all things computer, panographic stitching software has improved a lot in the last 5 years.

The improvement that really caught my eye is the ability to scan a directory of photographs and automatically find which pictures are supposed to go together.  If you only do a couple of panos this might not sound that useful, but on many trips I may take 300-400 pictures and it is sometimes far more difficult to find the matching shots than you think it might.

For the acid test I let this program lose on the Glacier National Park pictures I took a few years ago to see what it would do.  1000 pictures and a lot of panos later I noticed I had missed some when I was working on the pictures which can be grouped into three types.  New Pictures, Wider is Better, and Layers.  Enjoy!

Newly Found

These are panos that for some reason I just plain missed.  Or in case of picture 2 below,  The new software was able to blend the extreme contrast  between individual photos much better.

1 - For a sense of scale, try and spot the white car and black car on the roadway
3 - Louise actually IS on the trail this time, this was not one for people afraid of heights
4 - The new software can blend high contrast pictures far better than the old software
5 - The sky in this picture is actually from a picture taken landscape mode no problem for the new software
6 - The new software was able to stitch this straight unlike the old program
7 - A good but not a great shot.  Great would be if I got the entire person in the lower right

1 - Going to the Sun Road

2 - St Mary Lake

3 - Grinnell Glacier Hike

4 - Highline Trail

5 - Many Glacier Hotel

6 - Many Glacier Hotel
7 Avalanche Lake

Wider is Better

In each of these pictures I had missed at least one picture that was supposed to be in the pano, so now you can see it as intended a little wider.

8 - My favorite, the trail on the left is new and really makes the picture for me
9 - Right of the guy is new much better than the old picture
10 - The Many Glacier Hotel, do you really need me to tell you this is a great place to stay?
11 - Hidden Lake
12 - The low section of the Going to the Sun Road with the mountains lost in the clouds
13 - Me

8 - Grinnell Glacier Hike

9 - Grinnell Glacier

10 - Many Glacier Hotel

11 - Hidden Lake

12 - Going to the Sun Road

13 - Highline trail


And just some fun.  One of the side effects of the automatic procedure is it finds places where multiple pictures have been taken from the same location.  By rendering the pano as a photoshop file with layers you are able to clone people in from both pictures, useful if nobody is around to take a picture of you both.

14 - I had the camera balanced on the trunk of the car and took a couple shots with the timer.
15 - I took a picture of Louise and she one of me from the same location.