Friday, February 27, 2009


For as long as we've had our digital camera I have been looking for a good way to make panoramic photographs. Some models come with camera-based "stitching" built right in. Others provide software-based stitching. Ours included neither.

Therefore, I have, on rare occasion, made various manual attempts at achieving the same general effect. An opportunity recently presented itself and I decided to have another go.

In January we sustained some material damage to our driveway near the culvert in connection with the flooding in the Northwest. Our culvert was too small to handle all of that melting ice and snow running off of the surface from every property upstream. Ours is the last culvert before the storm water drains into the creek. Every year a little bit of water flows over the top of our driveway, taking just a bit of gravel with it. This time, however, the water was flowing over the top of the upstream driveways as well, meaning we had a lot of water to deal with. The rushing water carried a fair portion of our driveway downstream, leaving it impassible for the Camry.

My first attempt at a panorama of the damage, using a web-based converter. "Just upload your photos and the rest is automatic." So they claimed.

Disappointed, I turned to my old friend, PhotoShop, with much more satisfying results (also much more labor intensive).

Now, however, I have finally discovered the solution I've been longing for: Microsoft ICE (ICE = Image Composite Editor).

It is difficult to imagine a simpler process - you literally just drag-and-drop the photos, 13 in my case, into the workspace. ICE then goes right to work. After my previous experience with a free panorama solution, I really was not expecting perfection - but perfection is exactly what I got two minutes later. Take a look.

ICE is way too easy and way too good to be true - but it is true. I feel like I've cheated and won, only to learn that cheating is not only acceptable, but encouraged. Try it. You'll like it.

**UPDATE 2/27/09 10:04 pm** I'm not sure why I've got itsy-bitsy photos here. Check back next time and I'll hopefully have them fixed so they can be viewed with the naked eye.

**UPDATE 2/28/09 12:01 am** Still getting some odd behavior from Blogger, but I think I've got large enough images now.

1 comment:

Julie said...

wow, that's awesome! I too have been looking for a nice way to stitch my photos together! I'm excited to give this a go. Thanks!