Friday, January 20, 2012

Jetsonorama Panorama

Click on the link to view full-sized panorama (Flash-based, in new window) on

I'm thrilled to have been able to contribute to the The Art of The Rural (new window) blog with a panorama of an installation at Gray Mountain, Arizona (new window) by Chip Thomas (new window). I thought it could be used as a link accompanying a January 11, 2012 post on Chip's work, and was I surprised it got a separate post (not complaining, mind you - thanks, Matthew!).

From far away in North Carolina, I had admired Chip's work for some time. His work pops up on buildings and other structures from the Rez to Flagstaff to Phoenix to Tucson. His tools are simple - oversized photocopiers and wheat paste. His images of people who live in threatened communities carry dramatic impact in and of themselves. Given their size and in-your-face locations, you can't avoid the message the carry.

Read more about Chip's work on his blog yo mama!, and on Art of the Rural herehere and here.

The back story on the image is a fun one. While visiting NAU in October 2009 for homecoming and to meet with photography students, I talked my friend the incredibly talented Seattle Times photographer Erika Schultz into accompanying me on an evening expedition to photograph his work on some abandoned fuel tanks near Gray Mountain, AZ, about 45 minutes north of Flagstaff.

It was quite the scene, with the lights of the vehicles traversing the long slope from the San Francisco Peaks toward the Little Colorado River crossing at Cameron, AZ and the Milky Way wheeling overhead.

Now that I'm back in the West, living in Tucson, I look forward to seeing more of Chip's work, and perhaps even meeting him in person somewhere along the paths where his work pops up from time to time.

Tech talk:
Nodal Ninja 5 panorama head
Nikon D700; AF-Fisheye Nikkor 16mm f/2.8; ISO 1600, 30 sec. @ f/2.8
8 images - 6 around, 1 up, 1 down
Acquired in Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw
Stitched with PTGui.
Output to Flash with Pano2VR
Fuel tanks painted with Nikon SB800 strobe

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Little do they know...

Cathy Franklin made photos in Paradise Valley overlooking Mummy and Camelback mountains.
Photos originally posted on

I love it when a reporter or a reader unintentionally makes images that overlap and allow creation of a panorama.

On Tuesday evening, residents of central Arizona watched as a massive wall of dust rolled into the Phoenix metropolitan area., the website for the Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV posted over 200 reader images.

As I was browsing the images, I realized several of them could make panoramas. Since I haven't done much stitching of late, I used this as an opportunity to practice with PTGui. The finished images are here:

1) screen grab of images from site (photo gallery is in Flash).
2) crop screen grabs at exactly the same size.  I wrote a PS4 action for this.
3) Convert screen grabs to .tif format.
4) Stitch .tif files in PTGui.

As picture editors and multimedia producers, if we can add value to images, we certainly should. This is a fun way to do just that.

Ideally, the full resolution images submitted by the readers would be used for these. With a couple of these readers, I would have contacted them and asked for more images from the same location. I would be willing to bet they have images that work well that they didn't submit.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Panoramas in the Library of Congress collection

Over 4,000 panoramas here, many in fairly high resolution. Opportunities for rephotographic projects abound.
Here's an example here in Charlotte, NC:

Are there images of your community in this collection that lend themselves to being re-photographed? Let me know how it goes for you as you pursue this idea.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lens calibration in PTGui

I have found that pole/monopod/handheld panorama projects are much more successful when I insert lens calibration parameters created from a previous "very good" stitch in the Lens Settings tab.

This link from tutorials explains how to create a lens calibration for a particular lens/camera combination.

This is a screenshot for an AF Fisheye Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 on a D700 camera. These were saved after building a particularly successful architectural panorama (1 Bank of America Center Urban Garden).
Retrieving these settings from the Lens Database in the Lens Settings tab when starting a project often yields a panorama that needs very little mask editing to correct stitching/blending errors in the .psd output file. That's a huge time-saver.

The urban garden example was shot on a tripod with a panorama head, so the geometry of the images was accurate. When we shoot using a monopod, or when handholding, the images generally are not accurately overlapped, or always shot on the No Parallax Point. Using a lens calibration allows PTGui to more easily find overlapping control points - it gets the images "in the ballpark" first.

Follow the instructions in the tutorial, and begin generating lens correction parameters for the lenses you most commonly use when shooting panoramas.

There are more images from the 1 Bank of America Center shoot on our panorama page at The 30th floor terrace and interior as well as the workers atop the atrium were made with a circular fisheye lens on an FX format camera, shooting four images around at roughly 90 degrees of overlap. Using the lens calibration for this camera and lens combo cut quite a bit of time from production.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Upcoming news from Nodal Ninja and a plug for the NPPA Multimedia Workshop

Bill Bailey is tweeting (@nodalninja) about a new product announcement today from Nodal Ninja at the Tucson 2010 International Panoramic Photography Conference. The conference should yield some interesting nuggets of what's next in the panorama world. I wish I was there!

I will be at the NPPA Multimedia Immersion May 18-22 in Syracuse, NY at Syracuse University in the S.I. Newhouse School for Public Communications. Will Yurman of "Round Rochester" pano blog renown and I will lead a couple of panorama sessions during the workshop. I understand registration is nearly full, so sign up now if you want to learn the latest in multimedia taught by a bunch of experienced professionals.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Update: Panorama of the Week on Well, not really...

Just heard from Bryan Chan of LATimes. He confirms Paul Fretheim's followup (see below) on the weekly feature. Brian says, "I'm not sure where a reader got the "pano of the week" idea. We just do them as needed."

Paul replied to me Sunday as follows (I should have posted this then):

"Most pages at the LA Times site have tabs for "Local," "National," "World," etc. Under the local tab if you scroll down there is a header that is over a list of links that says "Weekly Features" and that is where the link was to the panorama. I may have overstated it when I wrote "Panorama of the Week." When I went back and looked at it again, it was unclear if it really means that they will have a panorama on a weekly basis."

Bummer. I was hoping one of the big dogs would take the lead and do a weekly feature.

If anyone knows of someone doing a weekly panorama feature, I'll bow at their feet.


According to a post from Paul Fretheim on the PanoToolsNG Yahoo group (text of the is message below), The Los Angeles Times is starting a "Panorama of The Week" feature.

The link is to a pano from Bryan Chan of the Los Angeles Times,who produced a group panorama of the LA Philharmonic, with hotspots giving us more info on the players.

I looked about the LAT site, and didn't see anything specifically touting "Panorama of The Week". However, there is a panoramas section on the Multimedia page.

Good use of hot spots, and if LAT is doing a pano of the week, that's a big boost (and a motivator) for the rest of us.


L.A. Times "Panorama of the Week"
Posted by: "Paul Fretheim" inyopro
Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:44 am (PDT)

Apparently the Los Angeles Times has initiated a feature they are
calling "Panorama of the Week." Here is the one from today's "paper,"
that is, the L.A. Times web site:,0,3418644.htmlstory

Paul Fretheim

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prison Riots Aftermath | Bryan Chan - LATimes

This is a good use of a panorama, to put the viewer in the news scene. I'm curious as to why the burned out housing block isn't the featured panorama. It is a powerful scene, and I would also have liked to see the prison courtyard.

I'd like to hear from Bryan about conditions, etc. during the tour if that's possible.

Working the nadir into our panoramas is a challenge, yet it is doable. Many of you don't include it, and I'd like to hear why. Is it a technical problem, stitching problems, or a question of photo manipulation ethics? Post a comment, or drop an email if you're shy. I'd like to help if I can.

This blog has been quiet of late and I want to change that. What do you want to learn? Also, please send links of yours and others' work to help prime the pump.