Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas from Panoramic Earth

Wishing all our readers and site users all the blessings of the season and a great start to 2011. To round off the year, here is a fantastic panorama taken by Malcolm Etherington of a snow-covered Lyme Regis and coast in the UK after unusually cold weather. Thanks and enjoy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Beaches in the NightTime

Praia da Lagoinha is a very pretty beach in Ubatuba, Brazil. When sitting in the depths of the cold, English winter, one can be look longingly at the stretches of sand and sea, viewed here at sunset under a full moon.

Much thanks to Emilio Campi for sharing this image with us. Can we come and visit please?

Monday, December 20, 2010

London in the Snow, December 2010

Regents Canal in after Snow, December 2010. 360 panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Once again London was covered in snow, and once again the news became snow-obsessed. And yet, much of the infrastructure in the capital kept running, with only 5% of bus routes affected much. However, traffic levels were greatly reduced and the airports closed, making the pace of life and noise levels much more pleasant. Though bemoaned by many, snow is welcome by many as well, who make the most of the opportunity to throw the stuff around, roll about in it, slide down hills on it and build stuff out of it.

This panoramas below shows how snow can transform a scene, creating a little magic for those who stop complaining long enough to enter in.

And nearby is Primrose Hill, whose southern slope provides both excellent views over the snow-covered city, and equally fantastic tobogganing opportunities. In an almost 'anything goes' manner, all kinds of objects are used to slide down the slope. Even lying on other people (hopefully friends) seemed acceptable, with trays, cases and road signs converted into possible toboggans for the afternoon.

Tobogganing on Primrose Hill, December 2010. 360 panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Friday, December 17, 2010

Canon EF Lenses - Change your Photography

Canon produce a vast range of EF lenses for their EOS cameras, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to buy a new digital camera. Not only that, the range continues to expand and grow, allowing budding photographers also to explore new areas of photography. Canon EF lenses are among the best in the world, they were the first to successfully commercialize Ultrasonic motor (USM) lenses, fast, silent and precise autofocus. Many of the lenses also have image stabilization (IS) or hybrid IS technology. This provides compensation for hand-shake in low-light, slow exposure settings, making photography even easier.

Canon EF Lenses

Canon EF Lenses

This video below provides an excellent introductory tutorial into Canon EF lenses.

Before starting out on selecting a Canon lens, it is always important to ask what kind of photography you want to do. However, whether you are interested in wide angle, scenic shots, macro work or need zoom for wildlife photography, Canon have got it covered.

The Canon EF lenses are identified by several factors:
  • Focal Length – given in mm, with low numbers providing wide angle images and higher focal lengths providing greater magnification of long-range objects, but with a narrower field of view. The Canon EF range is very diverse, covering 8mm fisheye lenses through to 1200mm lenses.
  • Aperture – marked as f/1.0 or similar. The number indicates the lowest setting at which that lens will work. A lower f value indicates that the lens will allow more light in and therefore work in lower light conditions.
  • Macro – these EF lenses are specifically designed for very close up work, and the work best for these kind of images. So, if your thing is photographing details of stitching or capturing bug-eyes and mushroom gills, then this is the thing to look out for.
  • USM – The lens has an ultrasonic motor for focussing. These motors are faster and quieter than other types of auto-focus motors and consume les power.
  • IS – EF lenses marked IS have image stabilization technology built in.
  • DO lens – These EF lenses have special Diffractive Optics glass and are usually smaller, lighter and perform better than non-DO lenses. Be prepared to pay for them.
  • L-Series – the EF lens ‘Luxury’ series, top of the line, with the best optical qualities and build, and with a price tag to match. They all have DO lens technology. Unless you have a lot of money, are mad about your photography or a professional, the L-series are what most of us drool over from a distance.

So there is a brief overview of lens nomenclature. The best way to choose a lens is to find a friend and see if they will be willing to let you use their kit. If you have that kind of friend be very grateful. Otherwise, make sure you can try them out in the shop, even have an attendant stand with you as you shoot some frames on your own body from the shop door. Of course, often budget plays an unfortunately limiting role in the lenses we can buy.

If you are buying a new lens, consider the kit lens, if it is of good quality. These often cover the range of circumstances most of us are likely to find ourselves in. The EF 24-105mm IS USM lens I have covers pretty much all I need for most things. The quality of the images has been great, and the IS has helped greatly in photographing moving objects like birds from a boat.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Edinburgh in the Snow

Edinburgh, like much of the rest of Britain, has been covered in snow in recent days. Stuart Robertson, one of our intrepid photographers, has been out and about capturing some of the scenes of the city. Nothing shows the scene more clearly than the view from the top of Nelsons Monument in the heart of the city, shown below:

Less than a mile from the centre of Edinburgh is Holyrood Park, dominated by the Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat. These snow covered slopes provide another stunning view over the city, as well as a fantastic playground for snow fights, tobogganing and sledging.

Snow has the magical effect of transforming buildings. And so it has transformed the appearance of the Scottish Parliament building opposite the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Built to remind people of the Scottish landscape, the snow covered building now blends in well with Salisbury Crags behind it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Wonders of Vienna

Vienna, the capital city of Austria, has much to offer visitors year round. With many magnificent historical buildings and world-class museums, the historical center of Vienna is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vienna is also considered a fantastic place to live, being recently ranked 1st out of 127 world cities for quality of life.

Panorama of Michaelerplatz supplied by Panoramic Earth

During the summer, people freely wander through beautiful parks and squares, browse the museums and markets. In the winter there is the famous Christmas market held outside the Rathaus, the wonders of the Prater park and amusements and numerous concerts.

New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth