Great scenes fly by when you can’t stop to photograph them. Parking in the fast lane on an Interstate is ill-advised, even for a potentially masterful shot. Other times the situation is marginal. This May a nice scene presented itself when we were returning to the Lake Tahoe region in the California mountains from the pleasant town of Minden, Nevada. I pulled barely off the road and grabbed two frames out of the car window, and somehow managed to splice them into a respectable panorama.
In Nevada, cowboys with monster trucks are required to keep their vehicles moving at a minimum of 75 miles per hour at all times. I think it’s a law. This means that if you are going to stop, you better make sure you can pull completely off the road. If you should swing the car door into the roadway, there is a fair chance your door will end up as a hood ornament and be over the next hill before you blink. Hence my two hasty frames from the car window.
Later, I had trouble recognizing that the two frames were supposed to fit together. The top frame is skewed badly to the right. In Photoshop Elements™, the interactive option in Photomerge™ allows the skewed frame to be rotated until it matches. In interactive mode there is a tiny tool palette in the upper left corner. The top arrow tool is used to move images, the second rotates, the third changes perspective distortion, there is a magnifier to see if you are really matching things up, and finally there is a tool to scroll around in magnified images.
Images can be modified before they are used by Photomerge, but if you rotate them they will have to be cropped to remove the background on the edge to be merged. Cropping removes parts of the image that might be useful in the completed panorama. It’s also easier to get the angle right if the images can be overlaid. You must change back and forth between the move tool and the rotate tool to complete the task, although the software ultimate snaps the frames into alignment. It took me a second attempt to get the correct angle. After merging, the image can be cropped using the regular crop tool. Here is my crop selection:
The final image is:
There is a larger version here.
I increased the contrast over the original frames. Maybe I overdid it, because the mist over the mountains is interesting, and darkening it loses some of the effect.
There is a truck far down the road. It was right beside me when I started to click the shutter.