Turning an “ok” view into a cool Panorama

Have you ever gone outside, maybe to work out, hike, or even just drive around, and see an amazing view unfolding before you? Mentally think of a time when this has happened.

Sure looks great, huh?

But then what happens when you go to snap a photo of this grand expansive view to either share with friends or just remember later? It ends up looking just…. ok. And by “ok,” I mean not great.

Smartphones came along with a pano mode that helped these kinds of situations, but it wasn’t perfect. Often full of distortion and different perspectives than what appears normally, smartphone panos on my phone usually just ended up deleted.

But after about a year of photography, I learned about the Lightroom and Photoshop panorama stitching feature. To say it changed my outlook on great views is an understatement. For example, take a look at the image below:

View from the trail

I enjoyed this morning sunrise hike. But this view, despite looking amazing in person, just feels a little off in this image. It’s a decent photo, no doubt, but not great. I certainly wouldn’t share it or print it. With the flare in the sky and the green flare smudge in the mountains, it just feels kind of like a phone snapshot of some far off mountains.

What about this view then a little to the left? I really liked these rocks jutting out of the mountains:

Looking back at the way I climbed already.

Again, eh. The rocks look cool, but there’s only one mountain peak in the center of the frame and the sky just isn’t interesting. But… what if the two views merged together to form a wider view of the entire scene?

Panoramic view of the top of the hike!

Now this looks awesome! And all it took was utilizing Lightroom’s merge feature. It’s not necessarily my best pano ever, and probably won’t make my top-10 images for the entire year, but I really like this. The only edits needed were just a few spot corrections to remove the flare (easy in Photoshop) and the profile corrections in Lightroom (although not super important since my 24-70mm f/2.8L II has relatively low distortion).

So my tip for anyone that is out hiking and sees a cool view is to take a few shots (overlapping) of the whole overlook and give a panorama a try. It may turn out way better than expected!

Happy trails,


2 Comments on “Turning an “ok” view into a cool Panorama

  1. Good morning, Brian. Panoramic shots could be a treat. I think they require awesome light and an interesting sky. I think the left side is the beauty spot of your composition.


  2. I had a cup of tea and played a little bit with your frame. I cropped it. I reduced the sky to a minimum and the bright light on right, which attracted my eyes immediately and let me ignore the left side. After cropping my eyes looked at the left side and then to the details in your image. Beautiful scenery and composition. What a hike, what a view! Awesome! Happy days. Reinhold


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