Panoramic Photography

A bit of personal photographic history.
I have been interested in panoramic photography ever since I saw some centennial photographs (you know, the 3' wide ones with everyone standing in front of the building) from my church back in Fargo, ND. I have always been 'into' photography but was never able to really get anywhere with panograpy due to economically induced technology shortfalls. In the days of chemicals and darkrooms, the specialized hardware required to produce cylindrical photos was just out of reach. With the advent of increasingly cheaper computer technology, digital cameras, and most importantly, Apple Computer's QuickTime software, the idea finally became feasable.

In 2000 I took my first modern panorama with an Apple QuickTake 200 camera. Notably, the technology was better but still not good enough. The camera offered no exposure or white point controls and my attempts to stitch the photos with Photoshop was a resounding 'blech'. I found a copy of Panorama Tools (by Professor Helmut Dirsch) and instructions online but couldn't figure them out enough to get it to work. The idea went back on the shelf.

In 2004, I had a better camera, an Olympus D-40 Zoom 4.0 MP digital camera with the normal SLR control features. The stitching software that came with it was woefully inadequate as it would only stitch 6 frames (180 degrees) cylinders. I did however, run across an unsupported piece of software from Apple that would build cylindrical VR panoramas. Before this, I had read about the Wrinkle in Time project and a new one called the World Wide Panorama World Heritage Project. This motivated me to take another try at it for their next project. Unfortunately, my schedule in the Air Force didn't allow me to participate until the 'Marketplace' project came along (and I almost got snowed out even then).

Since then, I have been improving my technology and have acquired a digital SLR, a fish-eye lens, and better software that allows me to take and produce spherical panoramas almost as easily as normal photography. I am, as they say, on my way.......

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Click here to view my first VR panorama that I shot hand-held with an Apple QuickTake 200 0.3 MP digital camera. Here I have restitched it with PTGui into a cylindrical VR. All things considered, it turned out pretty well. This pano is the inside the Dassault Hangar located at the Istres/Le Tube Air Base in France when I was deployed there in support of the U.N. Bosnia/Herzegovina No-Fly Zone with the USAF. No exterior photography was allowed on the base so this had to do as my test subject. ('00)

Click here to go to my World Wide Panorama project VR contributions. As one of my original motivations to learn panoramic VR photography, I am making it a point to participate as long as the project continues.

Click here to view the VR panoramas I have taken along Route 66. To document Route 66 with QTVR panoramas is my main hobby these days. I have accumulated 250+ panoramas on Route 66 from Illinois to California.

Click here to view panoramas, both normal and VR, that I have taken in various National and State Parks and Monuments around the U.S.

And lastly, click here to view various other panoramic photographs, both conventional and VR, that I have produced. These days I rarely travel ANYWHERE without my panorama rig so I have accumulated quite the mishmash of subject matter.

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