When I tried creating HDR images from some of the photos I took during field work I found that the automatic alignment didn’t work very well. That’s mostly caused by me shooting the photos hand-held, as no tripod or other support was available. Thus, I must mainly blame myself. However, laying the blame at the right feet doesn’t change the fact that photos don’t align well – see for yourself:
(note: HDR using presets, no fiddling, just to show the alignment. I know this image can be made nicer, but that’s not the point of this post)
This is a sunset view from the campsite, with our restroom in the foreground. As you can see, some of the photos caused duplications, especially in the clouds!
And then it hit me: a way of getting the photos to align better that doesn’t cost much money (none!) and time (a few minutes).
I loaded the pictures into hugin, used the Create control points option in the Image tab, then aligned them for position in the Optimiser tab. Using the Fast Preview panorama I set a crop that meant that all images had data for the entire resulting picture. In the Stitcher tab, I de-selected the panorama output, and selected Remapped Images – No exposure correction, low dynamic range. Hit Stitch! and wait……
The resulting TIFFs went into the HDR program, and this is what I got:
better – but not there yet! The loo is fuzzy, as are the clouds…..
OK, back to hugin, and this time I optimized for position, view and barrel. Back to the HDR program…..
a bit better! This time, the alignment error in hugin was huge (as it was before, but if you align position only that’s to be expected), pointing to some significant parallax problem. That can’t be fixed, so I gave up at this point. Still, for five minutes of work the change is remarkable! And if I crop the image some more the most troublesome areas go away.