Getting the Shot 4: HDR Panorama


Recently, I have been fascinated by the shots of the Marine City next to Dongbaek Island in Busan. Ever since I saw Ju Seok Oh’s shot I was captivated by the colours and reflections. His shot is simply wonderful and I feel that mine doesn’t live up to the crystal clear and sharp photo that Ju Seok did, but I thought that I would at least shot you how I made it since the process can be a little tricky.


For those who don’t know, Dongbaek Island is the outcrop of trees at the end of Haeundae beach. You may also call it “Westin Chosun Hotel Area” or “The Place Where They Held the APEC Summit” It is all the same place. It is really really nice there and a great place to have a walk and check out the sites.

If you have a car, it can be tricky to park but we were lucky enough to get a spot along the short road that goes around the side. There is also free parking there but most times it is full. So you may have to use the pay parking which is not so bad.

This shot was take at the edge of the cement platform by the parking lot. It was a great place because the flat ground allowed for me to set up the panorama a lot easier.  Also there is enough room to move around and set your gear down.

The Set Up:

Many times I have made the mistake that my wide angle lens and shooting in landscape is the best for panoramas. Then when I finish, I am left with a cool but very long and skinny pano that leaves me zooming in a lot to see anything.

After some studying I found that most good panoramas are short in portrait or vertical. This gives the pano more head space and  draws the eye a little better, in my opinion.  The results, and I must admit are must better than my previous attempts shooting in landscape.


Because this is an HDR, I shot 3 bracketed shots for each section of the pano.  This may seem like a lot and well… it is. However, it is not a problem it you know how to do batch processing in photomatix.

Once you start up Photomatix, head over to “automate” and click “batch processing” When this box pops up, you have a lot of options that may scare you off but they in fact are quite simple.

  1. Start with the “Generate HDR Settings” this will bring up the familiar menu when you normally start the HDR process. However, it is set back to the default so make sure you have your settings in check (noise reduction, ghosting artifacts, etc.).
  2. Move down to the lines under HDR settings. I always use “Tone Map with Detail Enhancer” I just get better results with it. A word of caution though, when you use this feature you can’t see what the effects are on the actual photo, so choose a set before (one group of photos) and get the image where you like it and write down the settings. Then use them in this menu.
  3. For the Source, click “individual files” and select your group of shots. Don’t be fooled by “folder” as it will process the whole damn this and it could be a while.
  4. Under “destination” create a new folder for your panorama (custom location) as it will be easier to select the files later. I set mine to 8-bit jpeg just for the file size and speed. Set the jpeg quality to 100.
  5. Before hitting the run button, check to make sure that you have the proper amount of bracketed   images. If you are shooting a series of 5 choose 5 from the left-center area because it will normally be set at 3. Once that is down hit “run” and watch the process.
  6. Once Photomatix does its thing, open up Adobe Bridge and find your files. Select them all and click “tools” then “Photoshop” then “Photomerge”
  7. Once you have your Panorama in Photoshop, you can trim off the edges and edit how you please. I will cover the steps a later date but for this it was just your basic editing and curves.



By batch processing all of your HDR panorama shots, you can make sure that all of the parts are processed the same way. Imagine how long it would take to individually process each photos and them merge them? Also, imagine you did that, only to find out that there were differences in the processing and now you have a striped panorama! Batch processing just makes this more consistent and easier.


  1. Scott Reply

    Great shot! I have not been to Busan for some years. I watch TV and see how Busan has changed over the years, but I never thought it looked like this. I am wondering if your shot was taken from the same cafe or restaurant that was introduced in a TV show called Dalpaengi (???). Nonetheless, beautiful shot!

  2. Chris in South Korea Reply

    Great shot! Actually, I like yours better – less glow around the top of the buildings. So how many shots wide did it take? Guessing 8 or 10?

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