This newly resurfaced megapixel race is making my techniques seem somewhat obsolete. I mean that new Canon 5DS R...drool! Okay, so I am completely aware that megapixels aren't everything but I LOVE printing large, so in my case it is fully justified.
Anyway, this was a 5 shot vertical panorama taken using Sunwayfoto's leveling head and indexing rotator. The final MP count after the overlaps and some cropping is ~60 which is hard to believe that the new canon could have almost gotten this in a single frame, although I am not sure any rectilinear lens could have quite captured this large of an angle.
The editing on this was absurd. I took each frame of the panorama twice, about an hour apart. Once shortly after sunset and again when it was dark enough for the town's lights to glow nice and bright. I took another long exposure specifically for the car trails on the road.
The tricky part is that you cannot create the separate panoramas first and then blend them together. The algorithms to create the panorama behave differently in different lighting so you can not simply overlay 2 panoramas. This meant all the manual blending I did between the frames had to be done in each of the 5 frames first which, mind you, is not an easy task because essentially every brush stroke must be replicated across the frames to make them consistent and create a clean panorama.
After editing the individual frames I then blended the panorama together. I had one last finishing touch which was the stars. I had a star tracker with me and took a several minute picture of the stars as a single shot with an UWA lens. As I said, even this FOV was not quite equivalent to the panorama's FOV, so I had to stretch that frame a bit and change the blend mode to lighten. I did look at the stars in the original frames, and although very dim, I lined them up pretty closely to how they truly were in the scene. If you look closely you can even see the Orion Nebula below Orion's belt.
I suppose this is the consequence of 'graphin on a budget, but it sure makes the D810 and 5DS R look more appealing.
PS, if anyone else has an easier way of blending multi-shot panoramas taken in different lighting please share. I have been unable to have success with creating the panoramas prior to blending but the reverse is tedious and time consuming.