Posts Tagged ‘merging’

BIZCARDCOLOR1-smallComposite photos are used in a variety of applications. Composites are essentially several photos merged or stitched together to form a panoramic or a composite of two or more scenes together. You see this routinely with images of people over laid in front of a background on a business card or website. Such as the shameless plug on the left 😉


The first composite style that I use allot is a panoramic stitch. You start by taking a series of photographs across a wide area say 180 to a full 360 degrees. Then you typically use software such as Microsoft’s ICE and stitch them together. This can be used to create some very dramatic panoramic images. It is important to keep the camera fairly level as you pan across the scene. It is equally important to allow significant overlapping so the software can find the similarities and stitch them cleanly. You can see the stitched photo above of Downtown Vancouver made from 12 vertically composed images covering 180 degrees.  I have always liked wide panoramas. These images can also be made to display in an interactive viewer environment such as the Microsoft Photosynth.

Couvevolcano2The next type of composite is often used in astronomical photography. Many exposures composite together to create amazing night sky visuals against a terrestrial foreground. I have used this technique to create views that would be either impossible or very difficult to achieve in one shot. These two photos of Downtown Vancouver were created by using an image of Mount Saint Helens that I took from Forest Park in Portland, OR looking across Vancouver to the Mountain. Then I took an image of Downtown Vancouver taken from Hayden Island at roughly the same angle as the Mountain shot. Couvesthelens-small-textThe Downtown image became the foreground and I masked out the background. I then painted in the mountain shot by reversing the mask and brushing in the new background. This gives the impression of a super long telephoto lens image creating a larger than life presence of the mountain in the background Sthelens-dtagainst the city in the foreground. In order to create this image without composite in one shot, I would need to be in an airplane over the Port of Portland somewhere near Swan Island with an 500-1000mm lens and the shot would be complicated by layers of utility poles and wires, trees, etc. The second shot would not be possible in one shot, the mountain is too big! The map to the right shows the line of sight and photo locations.

Composites can be a lot of fun and also help you create unique and even surreal imagery. Try it and have fun 🙂

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