Archive for September, 2011

360° panorama by Martin Broomfield.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Ken Pattern is a Canadian artist who has been inspired by Indonesia and South East Asia for many years. He works in a variety of media including drawing, painting and printmaking (stone lithography). Of special note are pen and ink drawings and lithographs of urban of Jakarta landscapes and the people who inhabit these. His paintings of rural Indonesia and other areas in South East Asia and Canada have the same characteristically fine detail as the drawings and lithographs. Beginning in 1978, Ken Pattern has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in Asia, North America and Europe. Over the year he has gathered a devoted group of collectors and his work can be found in private as well as public collections.Website: http://www.kenpattern.or.id

360° panorama by Bane Obradovic.
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This article is a guest post by  David Mariotti.

While sailing to Europe as a correspondent for a California newspaper, the great American writer, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), became friends with fellow passenger, Charles Langdon. After they had become close–most likely over many drinks and cigars– Langdon showed Clemens a picture of Langdon’s sister, Olivia, who was back home in Elmira, NY. After the tour group returned to the US (a tour which became the material for Clemens’ first successful book, The Innocents Abroad), Clemens asked to meet Olivia, which led to romance, marriage, and Clemens’ long association with Elmira, New York.


Mark Twain Grave


Clemens Headstone

During many summers, Clemens wrote in a small, charming study that was built for him by his sister-in-law, Susan Crane in 1874. The study was originally located at Quarry Farm, in the hills east of Elmira, NY, but was moved to the campus of Elmira College in 1952. In September of 1874, Clemens wrote (to Dr. John Brown):

We have spent the past four months up here on top of a breezy hill, six hundred feet high, some few miles from Elmira, N. Y., and overlooking that town; (Elmira is my wife’s birthplace and that of Susie and the new baby [Clara]). This little summer house on the hill-top (named Quarry Farm because there’s a quarry on it,) belongs to my wife’s sister, Mrs. Crane.


Mark Twain Study, Outside

And to his friends, the Twitchells, he wrote:

Susie Crane has built the loveliest study for me, you ever saw. It is octagonal, with a peaked roof, each octagon filled with a spacious window, and it sits perched in complete isolation on top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills. It is a cosy nest, with just room in it for a sofa and a table and three or four chairs – and when the storms sweep down the remote valley and the lightning flashes above the hills beyond, and the rain beats upon the roof over my head, imagine the luxury of it! It stands 500 feet above the valley and 2 ½ miles from it.


Mark Twain Study, Inside

360° panorama by Roberto Scavino.
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360° panorama and text by John Willetts.
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Cowslips are a springtime flower found on ancient meadowland. Its name comes from cowpat (what cows leave on the ground). It is very rare to find such a mass in one place. These were located in a water meadow near the village of Oakridge. The flowers make a delicate wine, rumored to be a cure for insomnia. An ointment made from the flowers was claimed to remove spots and wrinkles.

This is last fifth part of the 360° underwater panorama tutorial series by Richard Chesher. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Here is an image of a school of reef fish taken with the robot I mentioned in part 4:

And here is one taken very close to a school small tropical fish

A 3 Volt Hankscraft “Display” motor rotates the camera rig at 1 rpm. I put the motor in a PCV housing with the shaft going through a 1/8″ o-ring sealed camera control fitting. I made a hook mount on the shaft and a bracket to attach to the camera bracket on the other end. There is also a switch and a battery holder (2 AA cells) inside the case (photo below).

Underwater panorama rotator robot

The upper end is attached to the lower end of a section of a pool noodle float – just enough so there remains about 1kg of negative buoyancy for the whole rig. I use the robot as shown in photo 4 for shots close to the bottom or add a length of aluminium strap to raise the camera off the bottom if required.

A GentLED Auto time lapse module triggers the camera.  The camera fits snugly in the Ikelite camera housing and there is no room to place even such a tiny control module as the GentLED Auto. James Gentled was so kind as to make a special GentLED Auto unit with the LED on a short wire extension so I could fit it into the Ikelite housing. I attach the GentLED Auto using a sticky clay-like goo purchased in a stationary store (photo below). I turn on the timer, but not the camera, just before getting into the water and then seal the camera case. The control is set to trigger the camera once every 3 seconds, giving some 20 photos per 360 degrees.

When I have the camera in place I turn it on and check to be sure it is taking photos. Then Freddy and I swim off and spend 15 to 20 minutes taking photos with our other cameras. 20 minutes gives the fish time to get back to their normal behaviour and yields some 400 images. When I return I unhook the float and the motor housing and attach these to each other. Freddy swims off with them and I take the down and up images with the liberated camera.

Post processing becomes a challenge when you have to select 12 to 14 images out of 400 – especially when they contain constantly shifting schools of fish. Unlike land photos, you can’t control the rotational angle of each image because the camera is always moving from wave surge and currents. Sometimes a wave surge will move the camera rapidly – sometimes the focus isn’t correct – and you need an overabundance of images to select from.

Once I have my prime series selected I do all of the color, lighting and contrast corrections to each image in Photoshop before stitching. I save the processed RAW images in TIFF format.

I have tried both PTGui and AutoPano for stitching the underwater panos. I found AutoPano was the easiest and best for stitching these complex images. It works wonders – usually stitching the pano on the first try with practically no adjustments needed. It’s anti-ghosting feature is excellent and I rarely have any half-fish – a big issue when there are hundreds of fish in the image. It also adjusts for color and lighting variations so the end result looks great. After stitching I save the image as a TIFF file and correct any problems in Photoshop. Next I convert the image to cube faces using Pano2VR. I de-fisheye the down shot, open the bottom cube face in Photoshop and cover the nadir with the down shot, carefully matching it with the rest of the bottom view. (I rarely can get the bottom to stitch well in the original image because it is difficult to reposition the camera at exactly the same location). Then I fill in zenith hole in the top cube face and reassemble the cube faces back into a rectilinear image in Pano2VR.

This is last fifth part of the 360° underwater panorama tutorial series by Richard Chesher. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

360° panorama by Richard Chesher.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Richard Chesher: When exploring the uncharted waters of the world’s largest coral reef lagoon the weather is always a concern; even when anchored in a reasonably well protected location, like the V-shaped “Coude” (Elbow) reef on the southern tip of New Caledonia’s Great South Lagoon. None of the New Caledonia reef anchorages are protected from every direction and should the wind shift in the night you could be in serious trouble before dawn. So when I woke up just at sunrise the first thing I did was go on deck to check out what the weather had in store for us. And this is what I saw – we were completely surrounded by rain squalls and towering thunderheads. Fantastic! What a magnificent sky! The dawn colors, a flock of boobies headed back towards the remains of an old wreck on the reef after a night’s fishing, and the water just glowed all around us in the dawn light. I don’t think I’ve every enjoyed such menacing looking weather so much. While I was photographing this sphere image the VHF radio weather broadcast came on and told us that it was a lovely day and we could expect light SE winds. Surprisingly, they were right and after these showers passed by the day cleared up beautifully.

360° panorama by Marcio Cabral.
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Text by the author, Marcio Cabral: This is the world’s first underwater spherical image taken in a cave with fresh water, 25m depth. Lagoa Misteriosa, which translates as “Mysterious Lagoon”, is a lake at the bottom of a sinkhole, a type of geological formation common in limestone regions. This lake of transparent waters impresses visitors for its incredible depth. It is considered  one of the deepest submerged caves in Brazil, with more than 220 meters of water column (maximum depth reached by professional cave diver Gilberto Menezes de Oliveira, in 1998), what explains why it is called mysterious. Lagoa Misteriosa is a phreatic cave, that is, it was formed by the flow of underground water that dissolved the limestone in its passage. These types of caves usually are flooded and do not have fragile mineral deposits (speleothems). The first dive at Lagoa Misteriosa was done in September 1992 by Augusto Auler, member of a French-Brazilian Expedition that came to Bonito in 92. In 2008, a team of specialized divers mapped the cave until the depth of 70 meters. The Mysterious Lagoon was the first cave in Brazil to have a “Speleology Management Plan”, a document that comprehends the environmental diagnosis of the area and the guidelines for its conservation, approved by CECAV – the National Center for Research and Conservation of Caves in 2010. For those who have never dived before, Lagoa Misteriosa offers a first diving experience called “baptism”, reaching the maximum depth of 8 meters. For certificate divers, the depth depends on the level of certification, up to the maximum of 60 meters.

360° panorama by SPECIFIC SYSTEMS.
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Vue aérienne de la Place Carré du Louvre, Paris, à 100m d'altitude en 360° VR.Photos: Lionel TISSOT-BEZ et Pascal PLUCHON Par Specific Systems, Créateur et intégrateur de visites virtuelles 360 HD.Spécialiste de la photo panoramique et aérienne, par drones, ballons et mâts telescopiques. 

What will the views be like from the Observation Floor of the emerging World Trade Center’s Tower One?

This dizzying virtual tour (click the image above) shows what visitors to the new WTC Tower 1 would see when its is complete in 2011. These stitched panoramas were shot in June of 2005 as part of a view shed study to help the architects preview the best views from key floors in the planned “Freedom Tower”.

Due to current airspace and safety restrictions the views at this altitude have not been seen since the tragic morning of September 11th 2001.

A customized tethered aerostat balloon ascended to 1360 ft above Ground Zero to shoot this 360 degree series of panoramas. Due to current airspace and safety restrictions the views at this altitude have not been seen since the tragic morning of September 11th 2001. The new building is presently about 900 ft above ground. This was a record setting tethered balloon flight, with two remotely fired panoramic cameras by Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc of Falls Church Virginia.

360° panorama by airphotoslive - www.AirPhotosLIVE.com

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