St Mary's Church Window 1

I'm experimenting with a new way to display a panoramic when I want to upload a full-size or extremely large version. I thought I'd give Zoomify a try and a stained glass window panorama seemed the perfect pano to try it on first. I'm intersted in putting up the larger version for stained glass as I know my mum will be interested in the details of the painting. I spent this weekend and some of tonight stitching and Photoshopping the pano which consists of 3x3 images taken some time ago in St. Mary's Church in Berkley.

While on my way to somewhere else I popped into the church to see if there were any cool stained glass windows to take photos of. The church has 15 windows with stained glass and I took a single picture of all of them. After doing that I figured that I'd try and take a panorama of one which quickly turned into two which then rapidly turned into taking a panorama of all 15. Since it's taken about 48 hours to produce this one I think I might wait a bit before starting the next one!

I was quite rushed at the time as there was due to be a service starting and indeed my final pics were taken only about 20 minutes before the service actually started!. It was a good learning experience and there are a few things I'd do differently if I was to attempt this in another setting...

  1. Provision enough time so you don't have to rush. You'll want the time to be able to think about what you're doing rather than just snapping away.
  2. Place the camera at a higher position. Because it was an improptu shoot I was stuck with the height I could still see through the lens on my camera while standing on the floor.
  3. Use a greater depth of field (higher f number). You can see where the panel is not quite in focus on the left hand side.
  4. Take more care in positioning the camera centrally to the window. I did a reasonable job of this I think but it's still not quite in the middle. and it mean I had to do some distortion work inside Photoshop to get it to look right.
  5. Take some bracketted shots. Near the tops of the window I ran out of contrast on my RAW files. I 'developed' my RAW files three times for this image - at -1, 0 and +1. I didn't try and push it any more as there was no more information when pushing higher on the blown out highlights at the top. I'll need a lot more time if I'm bracketting shots as well next time.

I've left the edges of the window stonework not entirely blacked out in this image whereas I'd normally black the whole lot out. I did this because of the stones that obscure the base of the window. I thought it would look odd if I blacked them out. I'd be interested to know what you think.

The perspective on the window I've also left as if you were looking up at it ratber than correcting it for a front on view-point. It just looked weird to be corrected. I'm guessing that with a higher camera position it wouldn't be as noticeable. Does anyone know whether stained glass artists fixed their windows to an altered perspective so that they look correct when viewed from below like Michealangelo's David?

I hope you enjoy looking at the detail...


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Pat from Canvey's picture


I've posted links to your pano on the Silicon Folly Glass Forum and on Stained Glass News as some of the members are very interested in this topic, particularly the ones who make large church windows as a profession. Is the Zoomify a free program or did you have to buy it?
Just a thought, you may consider contacting the Rector to see if he is interested in purchasing the photo to be used in producing a postcard of the window. It certainly is good enough.

kat's picture

Free for basic...

The basic version of code for Zoomify to display pictures is free. If you want more features then you need to buy one of the other code sets. The version on this page is the basic free one.

I'm still making my panoramas with PTAssembler.

davidjaymz's picture

The zooomify plugin works

The zooomify plugin works really well for pano's. I found that you never posted them big enough for me before. At least now we can see some detail.

Maybe there's a market there for taking hi-res photos of panorama's. I know you can pay people to take photos of your expensive art for insurance purposes. (I don't know if they use a pano/macro combo though or just a tilt/shift lens).

There's probably a market in taking photos of miniatures. people really struggle with those. Even Sam gets it wrong. :lol:

Photography of Rock

kat's picture

Big Panos...

It's a difficult decision I think as to what size to post up. I always posted 'small' versions as I didn't want people to just steal a version that was big enough to produce a reasonable print from. The Zoomify can still be got round in that respect as you just need to view all the tiles for the picture but at least it's a bit more work than just right-clicking and then 'save as'.

You've seen this with your band photos as well I guess. You don't want to put a massive picture up but it has to be clear enough that you can see what the picture is. I know you can put on a watermark over the picture but I always feel that it spoils the picture to the point that its not worth uploading it.

I think the market is mostly either in architecture / house selling style activities or preservation and documentation of old artifacts. If people want to contract me to take photos of their minatures I'd be all for it! Sadly, the only people I know who produce minatures don't live in Bristol apart from one guy at work who wouldn't be interested ;-)

Ill see if you can make a living from photography first and then hope that I can telepathically steal some of your success while you're asleep or something! ;-)

davidjaymz's picture

:lol: where I said


where I said panorama's above I obviously meant stained glass. damn typing.

These are some of the main problems with trying to make money from photography. Showing your photos off, but discouraging the theft of said photos and finding your niche market to sell too.

I'd hazard a guess and say some of the _big_ Warhammer tournaments would be a place to set up a little stall taking photos of people's models and then selling them prints or hi-res jpgs.

There was a Artists market in Southampton a few weeks ago and i was going to go and check it out but forgot and spent the day tidying my flat instead. Doh!

(The other problem with trying to make money is having an initial lump sum of money to get started.)

Sam's picture

"Even Sam gets it wrong."

Schlock! Nevar.

The level of detail on the stained glass is awesome! I think it's a very niche market though. As Dave... DavID says, people will need such things for record keeping and suchlike. I recall reading about a firm that takes big (like, REAL big) panoramas of buildings, something like 150 MP, which are then used to survey for damage (especially on the upper floors). You could potentially sell pictures like this one to allow people to check for small areas of damage that need attention - though there'd be no real need to stitch them into a panorama for that.

Still, very impressive. It would make a nice poster or something.

Taking pictures at tournaments is an interesting idea, though it's worth noting that 3/4 of the people there are probably only interested in playing, not painting, and so wouldn't really care about having great pictures (the best photography in the world won't rescue an army that's just been painted in the minimum 3 colours). The other problem is that big events tend to be on Games Workshop's home turf, and they have a reputation for being somewhat militant when it comes to other people making money from their stuff.

All the same, given the standard of photograffickal skills demonstrated by the average gamer, there certainly is a market for model photography. The best thing might be to try your local GW store - ask them if you can put an ad on their noticeboard or something. It would be a particularly useful service for people who're trying to sell stuff on eBay. Try searching "pro painted" and you'll see what I mean...

kat's picture

Image Size

I think with 150MP I might be pushing the limits of my hardware capability.... From my image size in pixels the window image is around the equivalent of 33MP which Photoshop tells me will print at magazine quality as 41,29cm by 57,45cm. So area is around 2300cm^2. Scaling that up to 150MP (multiplying area by 5 lets say if my maths if right) then that gives you a poster around 12000cm^2 or around a meter by a meter poster. (Oh man - I'm setting myself up for a big 'you're wrong' on this as it's late and my brain has stopped doing any useful work - including basic maths).

My stitched pano for this came out as a 130MB TIF. I stitched it three times for this for different exposures which exist on different layers in my Photoshop file. Consequently my Photoshop file for this is 435MB. I know Photoshop has a working limit of 2GB for a single file although I have heard that there's such a thing as a 'Photoshop big' file (maybe .psb?) which you can use for images that are larger but I don't know enough about it to be able to tell you properly what it is and what it entails.


At the end of all this boring maths I think that a 150MP file would probably be outside my hardware and software limits at this time..... :-)