Photographer's Note

Winter view on West Julian Alps mountain group - Mt. Vis in the center and Mt. Montaz on the right side dominating the panorama. The picture is taken from Mt. Veliki Lovec. These are probably the most wild peaks of the whole Julian Alps with many very challenging trails called in Italian language 'via ferrata' meaning 'iron trails'. A lot of steel ropes, leathers and other technical 'tools' there - and precipices too. A helmet and self securing means are highly recommended also for the skilled ones.

The panorama is stitched manually from six shots taken without a tripod. Although taken with the same camera under the same conditions they were a lot different in brightness, color temperature and saturation. Some people think that one has to take panorama pictures with fixed camera setting. But this doesn't work either for large angle panoramas. The contrast differences are usually too large to be digested by film or digital media. All six pictures had large overlap of about 50%. Central portions of each were cropped out leaving a narrow overlapping strip on both sides, pasted to a new blank picture and kept as objects (called layers in PS) there for further processing. Next all partial snaps were manually unified regarding brightness, hue and saturation (rock, sky was neglected at this point). Then all object were properly positioned taking into account any small dominant detail in the middle of the picture edges of both adjacent pictures ('pick' and 'relative position move' tools; position in pix of both details is measured by cursor, values subtracted, and corresponding 'relative move' command applied). In the next step objects were combined with the background and the whole picture was cropped to its final dimension. Then masks for the sky of all partial pictures (which varied widely in saturation and color) were created using 'magic wand' plus manual editing and saved as channels. Then the sky of one part was copied (clone tool, low level of transparency) to individual portions of the sky of other parts of the panorama. The remaining traces of stitching lines were blended manually using clone tool with a high level of transparency and soft edge. Next all partial sky masks were loaded from channels and combined in a single sky mask. The sky was blurred Gaussian blur 2 pix and an effect of graduate gray filter simulated using 'paint on mask' and 'graduate fill' tools over sky mask. Finally 'curves' were applied. Mask was inverted and contrast and brightness of the mountains adjusted using 'curves' tool again. Sharpened (without the sky region) using 'unsharp mask' level 55, 1 pix radius. JPG level 30 (Corel PhotoPaint notation). The frame was added due to TE picture site limitations. Original has 4000 pix across - three and a half full screens to scroll!
Peaks of West Julian Alps

The graphics is made by increasing the contrast of the picture and applying 'Find edges' command (under 'Effects/Sharpen' menu in Corel software). One has to experiment with adjustments to get acceptable results. Then the picture was converted to 'gray scale' format. Next 'duo-tone' command was applied (actually 'tri-tone': orange, yellow, black). After some play with 'curves' of individual colors blue tint was added shifting white point of red and green color to gray ('curves' again). The picture must be converted back to RGB 24 bit format to be able to make JPG format out of it. JPG level 40 (Corel Photo paint notation).

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Additional Photos by Amadej Trnkoczy (amadej) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 64 W: 5 N: 160] (1285)
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