A place for experimental photographers

Turning Day into Night in one Panorama


Inspired by a series of Vertoramas depicting the transition between daytime and night-time, I decided to try to achieve a similar effect in an equirectangular panorama. I have to admit, the final image isn’t perfect and there’s definitely more room for improvement but overall, I’m pleased with the result. This post will discuss some of the issues I experienced during this project. In order to appreciate this image more, make sure you visit the interactive version on 360cities here.

First of all, I have to say that post-processing turned out to be far more challenging than capturing the images themselves. Initially, I thought that stitching both panoramas will be easier and less time-consuming than setting up the equipment but I was wrong. This image was made from two panoramas captured from the same spot and then edited in Lightroom and Photoshop. The first challenge is to shoot two identical panoramas from exactly the same spot with at least 3 hour interval. The second challenge is to stitch two identical panoramas, which proved the most difficult in my case.

First, I set up and levelled the tripod using a combination of bubble levels. Once you set up your tripod and mount the camera on the panoramic head, you have to be extremely careful not to move it. If you accidentally move your tripod between the panoramas, you may start shooting everything from the beginning, if you still have enough time. Like I said before, you have to capture a daytime and night-time panorama with at least 3 hour interval between them. If you move your tripod while shooting the night-time panorama, you will waste a lot of time and can come back the next day as both panoramas will not align. Therefore, it’s good to have someone to keep your company while waiting, so you don’t even think about and approach the tripod. Surprisingly enough, this wasn’t difficult as there were a lot of street artists to keep me amused. However, If you don’t want any people in your picture, you may choose to come late at night and wait for the dawn.

Then, once you have your panoramas ready, stitch them in a dedicated photo stitching software. I used AutoPano Giga and that’s when the greatest challenge came. Even though I captured both panoramas from the same spot, the software couldn’t stitch them in an identical way. I guess that may relate to different control points the software selects in each panoramas. You may try to select the same control points in each panorama manually, but that would be extremely time-consuming.  Instead, I had to modify the yaw, roll and pitch angles of both panoramas in order to achieve the same stitch. Make use of the zooming option as well as the guides to align the images in an identical way. Alternatively, as Phil suggests in the comments below, you can stitch the first panorama, save the settings as a template and use it to stitch the second panorama. Even though I haven’t tried it myself, I think it will work.

Finally, once you have both panoramas ready, blend them together in Photoshop, working with layers and opacity.

This project is rather time-consuming and I’m currently working on a way to improve the workflow as well as the transition so stay tuned for an update.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your photography.

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2 responses

  1. I use PTGui and it would allow you to use a previous project as a template for another set of images. Does your stitcher have a template function?

    June 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    • Grzegorz Rogala

      Thanks for your advice Phil. I just checked the saving settings in AutoPano Giga and it looks like you can save projects as templates and reuse them with other images.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm

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