Folks have been aligning multiple prints to create panoramas since photography was invented. In 1998, Helmut Dersch, a German physics and mathematics professor, created a set of computer tools to solve the complex 3D geometry associated with accurately aligning and stitching multiple overlapping images. The original suite of Panorama Tools was difficult to use and a number of graphical user interface (GUI) programs were written to make them more user friendly. One of the easiest (which also has the advantage of being free) is Hugin. The latest version along with links to tutorials and examples is freely available at Source Forge. The current stable version (2014) installed easily on my laptop and worked “out of the box.” Besides traditional panoramas, it will stitch multiple images allowing for “wide-angle” composites to be generated when a traditional wide-angle lens will not work.
The images below demonstrate both traditional panoramas and composites that combine many images of different parts to produce a full photograph that was impossible to capture in a single shot. Use of a tripod is recommended to avoid camera-shake. Even so, except for the night view of Brisbane, these composites were made from hand-held images. Hugin is a useful and fun tool but beware, the pixel count of some of these images grows dramatically and as the shot of the flowering tree indicates, care is needed to avoid missing part of the subject! Clicking on the images brings up a larger version that shows some of the details possible with this method but even spo, the long axis has been restricted to 2,500 pixels to avoid slow downloads.