I’ve always wanted to produce somewhat of a decent image using Photoshop’s photomerge feature (under File > Automate), but my previous attempts all failed… until today.

One afternoon on my trip to Yunnan, we were planned to do some manual labor in a corn field. The previous day, we had also done some manual labor and I brought my DSLR, but I didn’t use it much. Taking this into account, I decided not to bring my Canon 550D and Canon EF 50mm ƒ/1.2L (which weighs a ton) on this particular afternoon. Unfortunately, the labor wasn’t as intensive, we had a lot more free time, and the view was absolutely amazing. Upon seeing the view, I remember wishing I had followed the rule: “have a camera with you at all times”. Then I realized I had my phone, an iPhone 4S. Its camera is only 8 megapixels, it’s only ƒ/2.4, and the sensor is ridiculously tiny in comparison to that of the 550D, but nonetheless, it’s still a camera. I used the iOS default Camera app set to HDR mode. I didn’t have iOS 6, so I didn’t have the panorama feature. I took 32 shots (keeping non-HDR shots, so it was actually only 16 unique photos).

Afterwards, I stitched them together in Photoshop to create a panorama. I used photomerge on all the default settings (auto aligning and blending). It looked a little funky at first, because one of the photos was underexposed, but that was easily fixed in Photoshop. All in all, photomerge was very clever in its merging and blending. I’m not sure if Photoshop CS6 utilizes the GPU when photomerging, but regardless, it was very quick. Here’s the final product (click to see it in full size):

The view from a mountain in Yunnan, China.