Last weekend I went to visit my high school friend Yuzi in Pittsburgh, where she’s going to CMU for her Ph.D. I enjoyed the drive down in the sunshine with all the pretty fall leaves, even if it was quite a long drive. Mostly we just hung out and talked about life, but we did get out and walk around town by where the rivers join, and we rode the incline up to the top of the bluff to walk around and look at the scenery.
At Yuzi’s suggestion I took photos for a panorama of the Pittsburgh skyline. Here are the originals (I need to find some way of cleaning all the dust specks off!):
And here is the stitched and cropped image.
You can see that I color-balanced it, brought out the blues in the sky and toned down the red buildings a bit in the hope of making the image more harmonious. I applied a little bit of sharpening to make it crisper and brought up the saturation just a bit. I evened out the exposure between the sky, the land, and the dark trees in the corners, basically just as if I had been using a graduated filter. When shooting the pictures, I underexposed the originals a little so the sky wasn’t just pure white pixels, which let me bring out the color and cloud patterns in post-processing. But I also adjusted the exposure and other sliders in the Photoshop RAW dialogue, which lets you fix your pictures non-destructively. (That means you’re giving the computer a list that you can edit at any time, of changes to apply, rather than manually editing the pixels. The fancy data the camera has gathered stays more intact that way.) I stamped out the dust spots too. On top of that I added a bit of a vignette around the edges, which keeps your eye in the frame… the subtly brighter center and darker edges gives your eye sort of a fence so it doesn’t wander away from the image as easily.