Archive for the ‘Great Panoramas’ Category

Thomas K Sharpless is well known in the panoramic world as one of the true pioneers of panoramic and VR photography. Thomas has an extensive background in computer programming and he has contributed  a number of techniques and ideas to the panoramic photography community, most notably the “Panini” projection.

Thomas has been a stereoscopic panoramas evangelist since 2014 and he has evangelized us too. 360Cities, with Thomas’ support, is pleased to launch stereoscopic panoramas – you can read more about stereoscopic panoramas on 360Cities here (link to help guide)

-Please can you briefly describe what 3D or stereoscopic panoramas are and how they are created?

Thomas K Sharpless

The right word for this type of photo is “stereoscopic”.  “3D” should be reserved for objects or spaces that really have 3 dimensions, not for images (though that misuse is very common).

A stereo photo is a pair of images, taken simultaneously with two lenses placed like our eyes, about 65 mm apart and looking in the same direction.  When presented to the two eyes by a stereoscope, these images give most people the impression of seeing a 3D space.  A stereo panorama is a pair of 360 degree images, which when viewed with synchronized pano viewers presents a stereo pair.  The most popular stereoscope for viewing stereo panoramas is a virtual reality headset.

Stereoscopic depth perception results from the brain comparing small shifts of position, called discrepancies, between the left and right images.  It is important to know that this process depends very strongly on the discrepancies of fine details and textures, as well as of the perceived outlines of objects.  And that about one person in 6 has little or no stereo depth perception.

The most obvious way to make a stereo panorama is to stitch together a series of stereo photos, taken by turning a pair of cameras.  But such photos will not easily stitch to two seamless spheres, because each series was taken from a moving viewpoint, not from a single fixed point as assumed by standard stitching software.

There are two basic ways to handle this problem:

  1. Take a large number of closely spaced stereo views.  Then the panorama contains just a narrow vertical strip from each photo.  If they are narrow enough, the errors between adjacent strips will be too small to see.  This method is very reliable but has problems with moving subjects.
  2.  Take a small number of stereo views, as for a regular panorama, and hide the errors by careful composition and masking.  Moving subjects can be handled by masking, as in normal panography.

Both of these methods have single-camera variants, that need a really static subject because the left and right views are taken at different times.

In any case, the stitching process must faithfully preserve the stereo discrepancies captured by the cameras.  That means the left and right images of each stereo pair must be aligned and warped the same; any variation will lead to “muddy” stereo views.  This matching requires special stitching techniques.  My PT3D software makes it easier to achieve.

-When and why did you begin to create stereoscopic panoramas?

I have long wanted to make stereo panoramas in forests, because it is so hard to see the space between the trees in 2D photos.  That is still a largely unrealized project.

I made my first stereo panoramas in late 2014, with the single-camera, many-views method.  At that time I was involved in a project using photogrammetry to build 3D models from sweep panoramas taken with iPhones, and I also experimented with rendering those as stereo panoramas.

By mid-2015, like several other panographers, I was using a stereo pair of small mirrorless cameras and the few-views, clever-stitching approach, which suited my preference for shooting ‘live’ scenes from a monopod.  The great difficulty of that method has led me to develop software that helps PTGui align and warp such panoramas much better than it can do on its own.

-Why do you think stereoscopic panoramas are so compelling? (this might be addressed in the question above)

Much more than conventional photos, 360 panoramas are about space.  So it is really satisfying to be able to ‘see’ the space in a stereo panorama.  This greatly enhances the sense of presence in a VR viewing situation, even without the full motion-parallax provided by a 3D model.  I have seen two people, when putting on a headset showing a stereo view of a big church, start walking forward — a sure sign of “presence”.  That never happened with a 2D version of the same image.

-How many photographers do you believe are currently creating stereoscopic panoramas and how large do you expect the community can become as VR adoption increases?

I know of about a dozen commercial panographers who produce stereo panoramas, and would guess that there are at least as many more unknown to me.  The facebook group “3D Stereo Panoramas” currently has 1,408 members.  More than 30 people have asked to be beta testers of PT3D, which will go commercial next month.  Its sales figures may tell the story better.  But in any case it is clear that interest in stereo panography is growing quite fast.

A big thanks to Thomas for this interview and his support.

On April 12, 1961, at 09:07 Moscow time, a rocket with the Vostok spacecraft-satellite flown by pilot-cosmonaut Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin was launched from the Cosmodrome near the Baikonur station.


The Vostok 1 spacecraft-satellite descent vehicle has been kept in the Museum hall of NPO Energia ever since, which is named after Academician S.P. Korolev.


All structural elements, devices and units of the Vostok spacecraft-satellite descent vehicle are original (except for the interior lining, reconstructed due to deterioration).
Hi-resolution 360-degree panorama of the Vostok spacecraft-satellite created by Andrew Bodrov:


Interactive 360 video:

The refugee crisis has been one of the most discussed events in recent times and it has been getting a lot of media attention as well. The crisis was also one of the most searched topics on Google in 2015.

Thousands of Syrian families fled the war and violence and headed to Europe in hope of finding peace and better future. Yet a number of them were not that lucky.

The stories of the immigrants are sometimes unbelievable and, thanks to our community photographer Martin Bruining, we have the opportunity to get a glimpse of what the situation is like at the refugee camps in Greece. Just looking at the beaches in Lesbos gives you an idea of the tragedy that has unfolded.


“People arrive in Lesbos in boats every day, looking for safety, risking their lives taking rickety boats supplied by human traffickers. Men, women, children and babies. All arrive daily on the beaches of the Greek Islands, welcomed by residents and volunteers who came there to help,” Bruining told us.




Despite the number of volunteers, the refugees’ stories are not happy at all.

“The stories are far from ordinary. In one of the camps I met a Syrian man with a baby in his arms. The baby girl was born in Turkey and made the dangerous crossing on the first month of her life, not knowing what still lies ahead. Turning one year, she will have suffered more than I hope I ever will in my whole life.”

Martin said and added another story:

“There was a 16-year-old Afghan boy, whose family gave him all their money so he could go and look for safety in Europe. He just heard that the border between Macedonia and Greece was closed for Afghans. ‘I can’t go back home. Where am I supposed to go now?” he asked Martin.

Many stories similar to these are now forgotten and lost in the waves of the Mediterranean Sea. This huge pile of life jackets, each of which has its own story, looms there as a sad reminder.


Jeffrey Martin, founder of, has created the biggest 360º interactive image of New York. He took 2,000 individual images from the top of the Empire State Building over two days and then stitched them together into a 360º panoramic image, which is 203,200 pixels wide and 101,600 pixels high.

Some of the most interesting architecture and most iconic skyscrapers are there waiting for you to inspect them. Be sure to view in fullscreen mode and zoom all the way in.

Hello everyone! We’re at the beginning of what can become an amazing week, so why not make it even better with a couple of wonderful panoramic photos?

Here’s the best of what our 360Cities community photographers uploaded last week:


The Old Man Of Hoy by David Rowley (click the picture to open the pano)

This week we start in Scotland, with David Rowley’s pano of a rock formation called The Old Man of Hoy. As David points out in the pano’s description, there are indications it may collapse soon. If that happens, the importance of this pano will grow radically! Have a look!


Post Office, Grand Bassam by Martin Broomfield.

We’re pretty sure architects would love this building, a post office in Gran-Bassam in Ivory Coast. Don’t forget to check out the description as well, as Martin Broomfield gives you some interesting background, too!


Interior Palau de la Musica Catalana by Bo de Visser.

Interior panos are special – and some really old concert halls are the right places for that. This one, for example, is more than 100 years old and you can be sure you’d find some amazing architectural pieces over there.


Piazza San Pietro Vatican City by Studio Mambeau – Martijn Baudoin.

St. Peter’s square is the most iconic place in Vatican city for sure. See the giant obelisk in its center? Did you know it was erected almost 100 years before the actual square was built? Have a look around in this lovely pano by Martijn Baudoin.


Hi guys! We hope your holiday was amazing and you celebrated the Christmas and the New Year’s Eve properly!

The good thing is that the 360Cities community photographers were busy, too, so we have a couple of brand new quality panoramic photos coming your way. Here they are!


Mars Panorama – Curiosity rover: Martian solar day 1197 by Andrew Bodrov (click the picture to open the pano)

Can you believe it’s been three years since the Mars Curiosity rover landed on Mars? It’s been taking photos since then, and thanks to Andrew Bodrov we can enjoy them in a lovely spherical view. This one was taken on Curiosity’s solar day 1197 and consists of 199 individual photos stitched together.

Great job by Andrew and – of course – the Curiosity rover. Make sure you read the pano’s description, too, as you can read some pretty interesting background there!


Khibiny crossroad by Yuri Zvezdny (click the picture to open the pano)

Back to the Earth (to be honest, there’s more panos taken here)! On Yuri’s pano, you see one of the most beautiful things Earth’s nature has created – the northern lights. No need to add anything else – just watch.


Galerie L’Athanor by Mark Fink (click the picture to open the pano)

Mark takes us to an unusual shopping mall in Pezenas, France. As he mentions in the description, this is no ordinary place to shop. A gallery dedicated to art with its shops and museums is definitely a place to visit on your trip to France.


Inside Double Arch Alcove by Marek Kosiba (click the picture to open the pano)

Marek’s panos have had their spot in our weekly summary for a while now and this week is no exception, as we simply love the way Marek sees the nature. This time he climbed to the Double Arch Alcove in the Zion National Park, to take a magnificent picture from there. Have a look!

Make sure you check Marek’s other pano from last week, from Vermilion cliffs in Arizona.


View over Durdle Door by Peter Stephens (click the picture to open the pano)

We finish this week’s round-up with a lovely shot of the Durdle door near Lulworth in Dorset, England. It is a magnificent natural arch of rock, looming over a lovely beach just next to it. Great pano, Peter!


If you want to procrastinate a little bit longer, we get it. Here’s more:

Prague Rooftop Bar-Old Town Square by Diana Vielhaber (click the picture to open the pano)

Saint Isaac’s Square by Evgeniy Pavlenko (click the picture to open the pano)

Hamburg – footbridge over the Brooksfleet in the historical storage city by Ruediger Kottmann (click the picture to open the pano)

Hi guys! Even though the Chrismas holidays are getting closer and closer, we didn’t forget. Here’s the list of the coolest panoramic photos uploaded to 360Cities last week!


Tai Miu (tin Hau Temple) by Pengfei Xu (click the picture to open the pano)

For the start, we’ll make a short trip in Asia. Pengfei Yu made this stunning aerial pano from above the Tin Hau Temple in the Joss House bay in Hong Kong. It gives you the image of how beautiful the whole area is, just check it out!


Guizhou Province: Mt Fanjingshan by wongchichuen (click the picture to open the pano)

Thanks to Wong Chi Chuen, you can fully enjoy this fantastic view from Mt. Fanjingshan in China. This really must be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, don’t you agree?


Dachstein Suspension Bridge by Gorazd Bajt (click the picture to open the pano)

Amazing view from Asian mountains is followed by European mountains – more specifically, Dachstein in Austria, with it suspension bridge, which is the highest one in the whole country. And check out the view!


Sunset Markt Indersdorf, Aerial View by T. Emrich (click the picture to open the pano)

We fell in love with this pano by T. Emrich from Landkreis Dachau in Bavaria, Germany. The sunset provided the pano with amazing colours, making it look absolutely fantastic. Brilliant job!


Ah-shi-sle-pah, Wilderness Study Area by Marek Kosiba (click the picture to open the pano)

With the Star Wars buzz all around, we can’t step aside. For example, Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area looks completely like the movies were made there! Have a look around! Also, there’s more from Marek Kosiba – Randsburg Ghost Town and Mono Lake at dawn.


In case you want more panoramic beauty, we highly recommend you to check out the following uploads:

Martijn Baudoin made a trip to Havana and made a couple of beautiful panos over there. Click the pictures to open them.

Thanks to Heiner Straesser you can check out three panos of historical momunents in Turkey:

And there’s even more!

Arganzuela bridge of dominique perrault by luis davilla (click the picture to open the pano)

Statue Square Christmas Lights by wongchichuen (click the picture to open the pano)

Hi guys! Long time no see, but you can be sure we’re back with the summary of the most beautiful panos of the week! This time – a little bit longer summary than usually.

This Monday we’ll have a look at the most special places on the planet again – and we can’t even describe how happy we are our photographers were there.

Today, we start in Japan with two magnificent panos by Kiyoharu Takamura and Bibouroku Tabito.


Ooishi park in twilight by kiyoharu takamura (click the picture to open the pano)

The Oishi Park in Japan is an ideal spot for taking photos of Mt. Fuji, together with lovely flowers growing all around. Kiyoharu did just that and it worked out perfectly.


Coming of Autumn of abolished line alley by bibouroku tabito (click the picture to open the pano)

On our second pano from Japan, Bibouroku Tabito took unbelieveably colourful picture of abandoned train tracks heading into a tunnel – which may sound like it’s from a horror movie, but you don’t have to be afraid. The colours make the pano look so cheerful! Have a look yourself!


Mastio di Matilde – Livorno by Stefano Gelli (click the picture to open the pano)

Is it even possible to make a weekly summary without a quality aerial pano? We don’t think so, because they’re awesome – like this one by Stefano Gelli. Even though it’s a bit overcast in Livorno, the pano makes the city look so quiet!


Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in Winter by Marek Kosiba (click the picture to open the pano)

Taking pictures of animals is always a bit difficult, especially when the photos are panoramic. However, Marek managed to take a spectacular shot of ducks leaving to a faraway place (maybe?) and the pano looks amazing. Check it out!


Lava Flow on Chain Of Craters Road by Marek Kosiba (click the picture to open the pano)

Here’s another one by Marek – this time from Hawaii. This seriously is a thing you don’t get to see every day. Unbelieveable shapes of the lava flow looks absolutely beautiful – you just don’t want to be there when it’s hot!


Wait! We’re not done yet – there’s much more places you can visit through the panos our community photographers uploaded!

Check them out – Let’s start in Germany (in Baden-Wuerttemberg or Bremen). Or other European places – Finland, Poland, Russia, Romania, Italy (or Tuscany here). We have a couple of French panos as well – from Strasbourg, or Pezenas. We’re certain you don’t want to miss other panos from Turkey (there are also two more from Phrygia – here and here, or other two from Cappadocia here and here).

You know what? Let’s head out of Europe. Thanks to our panos, you can check out Sannur Cave Circle, The Falcon headed Horus or the Chamber of Khonsu in Egypt. Why not check out panos from Seoul and Havana?

Well, that was A LOT of panos! Hopefully enough to keep you busy until next time. See you!

Our weekly round-up of the coolest panoramic pictures will be a slightly shorter than usual this time, as only two panos made the list. But as you can see, it’s well deserved.


Karang Bolong Beach by Dominic Julian (click the picture to open the pano)

This week we start in Indonesia, where Dominic Julian took this picture at the Karand Bolong beach. As he points out in the description, you don’t want to miss the hole in the rock, which actually gave the beach its name. But still – it’s a beach and we would certainly understand if you looked the other way, to the sea.


Venice rooftops by Steffen Faradi (click the picture to open the pano)

Moving from Indonesia to Europe, we now stand on top of one of Venice’s roofs, enjoying a wonderful view over the city. Streffen Faradi also notes that taking panoramic pictures requires you to discover an adventurer in you – he had to wake up early and climb up the roof to make a pano like this. Great job!

See you next week!


360° panorama by Christian Kleiman.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Volvo Sailing Have a Go!!VIADUCT BASIN - Volvo Ocean Race - VO652015 Auckland Stopover - New Zealandwww.volvooceanrace.com360º Spherical Panorama created by © Christian Kleiman.Some days shooting photos with the Volvo Ocean Race Organization and Racing Teams.About the  personal  for 360º Panoramic for Aerial Photography.Personal projects:www.parisvirtualtour.comwww.benidormvirtualtour.comwww.newzealandvirtualtour.comSome