Night panoramas: Abandoned cement plant

Abandoned cement plant night panorama -- by Joe Reifer

Abandoned cement plant night panorama -- by Joe Reifer

This night panorama shows the back of the abandoned cement plant in a 300 degree view. I shot 14 images but only ended up using 12 for the pano because the brightness of the full moon was too distracting. The distortion produced by the cylindrical projection option in Photoshop CS5 Photomerge works well with the long cluster of buildings on the right leading up into the nearby hills. The cylindrical setting also bends the clouds into interesting arc shapes, providing a rhythmic connection between the different groups of structures. These were 2 minute exposures at f/8, ISO 400 with a vertically mounted Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-70/2.8L lens at the 24mm setting. The graffiti on the small stone in the left foreground says “Musk,” which cracked me me because I encountered a rather aggressive skunk while shooting this image. I must have set my tripod up close to the skunk’s den. No skunks were harmed in the making of this picture.

Abandoned cement plant night panorama -- by Joe Reifer

Abandoned cement plant night panorama -- by Joe Reifer

For this alternate view of the plant I chose to center the big tree and buildings, and have the dirt path enter the frame from both sides. The impact of the cylindrical projection is minimal on this image. The increased space between the camera and subject matter gives the image less impact at web size, but would help achieve a more documentary spirit of place in a large sized print. Exposure and camera setup details were the same as the previous image.

Abandoned cement plant night panorama -- by Joe Reifer

Abandoned cement plant night panorama -- by Joe Reifer

The view from the SE corner of the plant also shows an  irrigation channel on the left. The cylindrical projection creates a very natural looking flow on the left side of the image with the pond, telephone pole, and domed building. The right side of the image has more intense distortion than the other night panos, because I was closer to the stone walls. I am still experimenting with the post-processing on this image in Photoshop, and may also try some of the tools in Autopano Pro.

I hope you enjoyed this series of full moon night panoramas!

7 thoughts on “Night panoramas: Abandoned cement plant”

  1. Hey Joe:

    Very nice! Too bad there aren’t smell-o-ramas, for sharing the musk. ;-)

    I think for shooting at 24mm on the 5D/MkII you can do 10 shots around to get a full 360° & still have 30% overlap on your images. 12 frames obviously works, but 14 is too many (and an extra 8 minutes or so!).

    Photoshop’s come a long way, and APP is good — but I -would- suggest trying PTGui. It allows for much more control in stitching & post.



    1. Hey Patrick – Thanks for the feedback. I went back and looked at the images – I shot the area with the moon twice so I’d have more moon placement and moon/cloud interaction options. So it was 12 shots around for a 360 (about 30 degrees each).

      I experimented with PTGui when there was still a specific Mac version. All of the pano software has come a long way in the last 3-4 years. I’ve been considering getting a Tokina 10-17mm lens and shaving the hood so I can do 4 shots around for a complete 360. I’ve been eyeballing the Nodal Ninja R1 for this purpose. What do you think of this setup?

  2. You should put the moon in there twice! :-P

    I hear good things about the Tokina and that setup. I’m a big fan of Nodal Ninja (hi Bill Bailey!), but I have two other 360° pano heads in my kit. You’re welcome to borrow one (360Precision “Adjuste”) and have a go with it and the MkII/24mm combo.

    As far as shooting just 4 images around… Well, it’s all in what you’re after. I personally prefer to shoot with longer lenses and take more images. At 24mm you get good clarity of image and really nice resolution (especially for print), with reasonable post-processing.

    At, say, 100mm you can take hundreds of images with scads of detail but the post becomes a time-suck (as well as making the fans scream on your Mac tower :-P). That would obviously be unreasonable to do for night photography.

    The Canon 15mm FE is a pretty good trade-off of quality and speed for me, and I use it lots. Any less than 6 images around ad I start to feel pixel deprived. :-) But, 4 shots around at 2 minute exposure length is way more enticing than 12 around.

    I have a licensed Pro version of PTGui, which you’re welcome to take a trial run with too — You’re right that the software has come a long way, and I’m really excited that Adobe’s tools are taking 360°/panorama stuff seriously. Gone are the days of 12 layers and the transform tool nightmare. ;-)


    1. Patrick – thanks so much. There’s nothing like running some ideas by an expert to help sort out the best way to proceed. I looked at the resolution numbers for 4 around at 12mm, and concluded that I’m better off with a 15mm fisheye and 6 around. Of course for a 360×180 this means 8 shots (zenith and nadir). But I’m not sure I even want to do 360×180.

      I could do a few less shots with the equipment I have by using an 18mm lens instead of the 24mm. Do I want to try your $1000 pano head? That sounds kinda dangerous. It’s interesting that Autopano is now offering control points in their software. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why more advanced pano shooters prefer PTGui.

      Tell me more about how you use the offset filter in Photoshop!

      1. No problem Joe — it’s fun! :)

        Re: my 360P head… No worries, it’s really really sturdy cast aluminum. It’s a lightweight tank.

        After stitching, you can open up your pano (cylinder or spherical) in Photoshop. Assuming it’s unlayered, head to the offset filter (filters:other:offset). Make sure it’s set to wraparound, and then adjust the pixel value for the horizontal… Great for making things more pleasing to the eye when displaying the flattened projection (or printing it for display).

        1. Cool. I tried out the offset filter. In some ways this method is a faster way to handle what I’m doing with locking the center layer before stitching & blending. In the image I tried there was a seam that would need to be blended though.

  3. PS:
    Do you use the “Offset” filter in Photoshop? If not, I recommend it for post… Keeps you from having to restitch if you change your center point or “anchor” image.


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