This panorama of Oleander Hawk-moth is by using 5 macro photos. In this tutorial I will use Adobe Photoshop CS4 which has greatly improved panorama tools, to produce this macro panorama. This version makes stitching odd photos so much easier than any other program I know of. If you notice these photos are not sequential like the normal pano shots we take. I took this way just to check the capability of Adobe Photoshop CS4 in identifying various segments. You will notice first two shots are of right and left wing, then three shots are of the body from top to bottom. This sort of mixed arrangement stumped most stitching applications out there.
My earlier favorite was PTGUI. When I tried it with these photos it failed miserably to recognize control points. The resulting panorama was a horrible mess. Adobe Photoshop CS4 excels in the aspect of recognition of various segments in the photos.
I was trying to photograph without tripod that day. My Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro was not able to get the full moth at 1:1 magnification. I used 20mm Kenko extension tube along with 100 mm and photographed the moth in 5 pieces with the intention of stitching together later.
I had to make sure that background was as clutter less as possible. This was easy as it was quite dark outside and I was using my Canon MT-24EX macro twin light flash so that background would be dark.
Next thing I wanted to make sure that there will be at least 20% overlap of parts in each photo, otherwise Photoshop will find it difficult to stitch them together.
Once I imported the photos to Adobe Lightroom I selected these 5 shots and chose Edit in Photoshop as panorama.
After churning out a bit, Photoshop CS4 produced this beautiful image of the Oleander moth all stitched together.
I flattened all the layers and filled the transparent area with black around the moth. I also cropped and rotated to get this final result in Photoshop. So what we have at the end is around 100 mega pixel image of moth which is perfectly stitched and exposure blended. You can see this image at the beginning of this post.
If only I had tripod handy that day, I would have used macro focusing rail and could have taken several shots using canon MP-E 65mm 1x-5x macro and produced 1000 mega pixel monster photo 😉 ha ha, I was just joking 😉
Anyway it was fun to try this panorama like stitching using macro that too with shots which were hand held. Photoshop CS4 has really improved its method of Photomerge and produces seamless stitching with excellent results. I hope this small tutorial helps many macro shooters out there who find their subject too big to fit in one frame 😉