Handheld Multi-Row Photo Stitching


Dallas County Courthouse (Texas)

The old “Dallas County Courthouse” was also know as the “Old Red Courthouse,” is currently the home for the “Old Red Museum”

Sometimes I find myself wishing I had brought additional equipment for an unexpected subject. On this occasion, I wasn’t planning on any serious photography — just snapshots. I brought only my D3s and an all-purpose AF-S Nikkor 28-300 f/3.5-5.6. When I came upon this building I did not have a lens wide enough, nor did I have a tripod. I decided I had to try to capture the building anyway.

There were a couple of problems in capturing this picture

  1. I didn’t have a lens wide enough to capture the entire building in one shot
  2. I didn’t have a tripod, much less a  multi-row panoramic Head
  3. The traffic made it hard to shoot this from the street

I decided to try, a technique I am calling “Handheld Multi-Row Photo Stitching” The trick is to move the camera; not your body when composing for each section of the building. This is similar to what a “multi-row panoramic Head” would do pivoting around the lens nodal point—somewhere in the center of the lens where the aperture leaves in the lens would be.

HandStacking-ImagesI waited for the next red light, and then took series of 8 shots in a zigzagging pattern in one continuous motion

  • top tow left – top tow right,
  • row 2 right – row 2 left
  • tow 3 left –  row 3 right
  • bottom row right – bottom row left

The idea is to minimize the movement of the camera while overlapping each photo by at-least 30%.


The processing was 4 basic steps:

1 – Combine photos using Microsoft’s ICE


2 – Fix perspective using Adobe’s Photoshop


3 – Enhance Image using Adobe’s Lightroom


4 – Make Final enhancements and remove foreground Lamp Pole using Adobe’s Photoshop


Time: February 17, 2014 @ 2:22 pm
Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens:  Nikkor 28-300mm @ 55mm
Exposure: 8 exposures – ISO 200; f/8 @ 1/500 sec.

About Richard Cox