Photo Stitching

It’s not uncommon whilst being on holiday to find yourself at the top of some building or perched on the side of a hill somewhere looking out over a beautiful view. Wanting to capture the moment, you take a few shots with your camera but unless you have something suitably expensive that does wide angle shots, the photos just don’t quite work. You just don’t get the same feeling from them. But there is something you can do about that….

For many years now I’ve been snapping a few shots as I pan the camera and then pasting them together when I get back home using a piece of software that comes with all (or at least all the ones I’ve had) Cannon cameras called PhotoStitch. It was easy to use and although the results weren’t brilliant the panoramas that it created looked okay as long as you didn’t look too closely. I never actually thought to check if there was something free and better out there that I could use. Until I got back from holiday recently that is.

Sure enough there are a number of freeware packages that’ll do the job but one of the first I tried that produced seamless results was Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor). It’s small, easy to install and I really was impressed by the images that it created. PhotoStitch would often have slight dark areas down the stitch lines and there would be some ghosting where the two images had not quite been merged correctly. I can’t say I can even tell where the stitch line is with ICE, and I have looked quite closely!

So even folks with expensive SLR cameras that are considering shelling out a small fortune for a wide angle lens, maybe just consider taking a few pictures and then joining them all up for a cheaper alternative? You may be surprised at the results.

Stitched Photo created with Microsoft ICE

Skiathos harbour created from two pictures – click for a larger (but reduce in size from the original) version.

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