Wednesday, December 11, 2013

St Martin in the Fields Church Virtual Tour

St Martin in the Fields 360 Panorama Image

St Martin in the Fields is a famous church in London, found on the north east corner of Trafalgar Square. The current church was designed by James Gibbs in the early 18th century. At the time it was built, the church stood in a field part way between the City of Westminster and the City of London. In 2006 a Roman grave was found on the site, indicating that the site had been used as a religious place of worship for hundreds of years.

This interactive, 360 panorama shows the interior of the church. It was taken by Peter Watts in September 2013.

Today, St Martin in the Fields is a popular concert venue, with classical concerts and organ recitals often being held in the church itself. Beneath the church, in the Crypt Cafe, jazz concerts are often held. Being right next to Trafalgar Square, the church is also a popular tourist attraction. It is also the parish church of Buckingham Palace, Number 10 (Downing Street) and the Admiralty.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Virtual Tour of The Stawamus Chief

The Stawamus Chief, most commonly known simply as The Chief, is a massive granite monolith about an hour outside Vancouver and just south of Squamish. Towering over 700m above the Howe Sound, it is a very popular hiking destination in the summer months, offering unparalleled views over the surrounding area. It is also very popular with climbers worldwide, offering plenty of opportunities for all levels.

The Chief has three peaks, each of which is accessible by foot. Most people climb to the lowest, First, peak for the views. The 360 panoramic image below is taken from the Second peak, showing the view over Squamish and the Howe Sound. From here it is a short traverse past a dramatic chasm to the top of the Third Peak, 702m above sea level.

Panorama of The Stawamus Chief supplied by Panoramic Earth

A number of routes ascend The Chief, all starting from the same trailhead near the carpark and campsite. A part of the way the trail splits with one branch ascending a very steep gully to the Third Peak directly. The other continues up for some distance more before splitting again with separate trails leading to the First and Second Peaks.

All the trails are rugged and steep, but the views at the top are well worth the effort. Panoramic Earth now holds a number of virtual tour images taken on various parts of The Chief, providing the most comprehensive virtual tour available of the second largest granite monolith in the world.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Offer of FREE Gigapixel Virtual Tour Photography for Indian Charities

Later this year (read very soon) Kilgore661 will be visiting various parts of India doing a Gigapixel photography trip. He is offering FREE gigapixel virtual tour creation for Indian charities. His current itinerary includes visiting New Delhi, Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu and Goa.

For more information see Kigore in India 2013 and this article here.

This kind of photography is ideal for helping promote work and inform (potential) supporters of what is going on. It is well suited for things like health clinics, orphanages, refugee work, social developments and more. Virtual photography of this kind is usually very expensive, so this is not an opportunity to be missed.

Another free offering is also being made by Panoramic Earth, which is willing to offer FREE HOSTING of any 360 panoramas that a charity already has. For an example, see what the site did for HeartKids. As the charity can also provide information to go with each image on the site, it can be a great way of creating another means for people to find out about your work. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Phantom Flex4K Camera Shoots 1,000 fps in HD

Though not about panoramic photography I thought this one worth a mention. Phantom have launched their next generation of high speed video camera, the Flex4K. It is capable of capturing up to 1,000 frames per second (fps) HD footage at a resolution of 4096 x 2160. Showcase footage of a house fire shows of the stunning impact and potential of the camera.

- First footage from the new Phantom Flex4K - "Let me know when you see Fire" from Gregory Wilson on Vimeo.

The film was made by Brendan Bellomo and cinematographer Greg Wilson
 using a prototype camera and working with the Hebron Fire Dept. and the Glastonbury Fire Dept. in Connecticut.

For the technical, this is a true 4K RAW camera capable of shooting 1,000 frames per second (fps) in 4096 x 2160 resolution. It can shoot anything from 23.98 fps up to 3,000 fps but at the higher end the resolution drops from 4096 x 2304 to 1280 x 720. At high speeds it shoots in 5 second bursts, which does not sound like a long time, but when replayed at 24 fps this extends to 3 minutes viewing.

Such a system does not come cheap, starting at £109,000 and rising to about $165,000 when all the extras are added on.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gigapixel 360 Panorama from Gale Crater on Mars

The Curiosity Rover on Mars has been busy taking pictures. About 405 of them with the two cameras on the vehicle's mast. These have been combined to produce a spherical panorama measuring 90000x45000 pixels (or 4 billion pixels). The result is a stunning spherical, gigapixel image of the Gale Crater

For those who want the technical details, this was taken betwen Martian solar days 136-149
using both the 100mm Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), and 34mm Medium Angle Camera (MAC). Though not the largest Gigapixel image ever produced, it is probably the most amazing in terms of technical achievement. 

Though you may not be able to produce an image of this kind, you can get yourself a bit of the Mars mission. Ok, so it would be in Lego, but someone has put together plans for how to build your own Lego Curiosity Rover and landing stage

Monday, March 11, 2013

360 Panorama of London from The Shard

London has a new viewing platform, on level 72 of The Shard, the second highest building in the EU. To celebrate this The Shard has produced an interactive 360 virtual tour panorama showing the view over London. Taken from 245m above ground level, the panorama is peppered with hotspots giving information about various landmarks and places of interest. 

Also within the image are links to various sounds recorded around the city as part of the London Sound Survey Project. There is the famous peal of bells from St Paul's Cathedral, monkeys from London Zoo and MP's (sounding much like the monkeys) from within Parliament.

The Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom. It is fully 309.6m (1,016 ft) tall with 95 floors topped out with a spire. You can find out more about it on Wikipedia.

This is not the biggest panorama of London. That honour goes to the massive 320 +Gigapixel image taken from BT Tower, which was the largest ever created in the world. However, I prefer this one for the interactivity and clarity of landscape.

So what is your favourite part of this image?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Largest Gigapixel 306 Panorama Ever Shows London from BT Tower

Screen Shot of BTs London Gigapixel PanoramaBT now own the largest 360 panorama in the world. Taken from the top of the BT tower during the London Olympics in 2012, it shows of the heart of the city. To mark the event BT have hidden 3 images of their Buzby mascot within the image. The lucky finders will receive prizes. It beats the 80 gigapixel image of London released in 2010 by quite some distance.

This 320 gigapixel image was created by stitching together some 48,640 individual frames taken with  four Canon EOS 7D cameras. It is hosted by 360 Cities. The image is most impressive in the mid-distance range as the day on which it was taken is quite hazy resulting in loss of clarity at long range. As with all images of this kind, there are increasing stitching errors as one gets closer to the tower, and the office buildings nearby are suffering some a degree of 'flexability'.

All the landmarks are clearly visible, and by the looks of the scarring on the lower end of Regents Park, it would appear that an exhibition event has just left the park. 

A collection of over 300 panoramas taken around the city, linked to Google Maps, can be found on this London virtual tour map.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Visiting Tagaytay and Taal Volcano in Philippines

Taal Volcano 360 Panorama
360 Panorama View of Taal Volcano © Peter Watts

The City of Tagaytay is of the most popular places to visit in the Philippines. It is perched on the ridge or the Taal Volcano caldera, making the small city is much less humid and a little cooler than the surrounding lowlands. Nearby are the Tagaytay Highlands, which has some of the most expensive housing to be found and a large, popular park.

On one side, the city has views over the lowlands and Manila. On the other are dramatic views over Taal Volcano and the caldera lake surrounding it. It is this volcano that is the main tourist attraction in the area. That and the casino. On the ridge is the beautiful, 5-star Taal Vista Hotel. Aptly named as it offering some of the best views available over the lake and volcano from its luxurious grounds.

Panorama of City of Tagaytay supplied by Panoramic Earth

And then there the Taal Volcano itself, the main tourist attraction in the area. Visiting the volcano takes at least half a day, starting with a windy, thirty minute drive down the steep caldera cliff to resorts that line the lake edge. This is followed by an outrigger-canoe ride over Taal Volcano Lake and then either a walk or donkey ride up to the edge of the crater.

This volcano is active, and has erupted in recent times causing fatalities in the surrounding villages. The crater lake is boiling in some sections and steam vents can be found on the rim and hillside. On clear days there are great views over the massive caldera, itself formed when the father of Taal Volcano blew up around 100,000 years ago. Those not concerned with polluting the area can pay to drive a golf ball into the lake below.

As with anything in Asia, it is always worth bargaining for better prices, and travelling as a group will get the best deals. Visiting Tagaytay and Taal Volcano make for a very memorable trip.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ricoh Displays Single Shot 360 Spherical Panorama Camera

Ricoh have been working on a very small, portable device that takes a spherical 360 panorama in one shot and sends it automatically to a smartphone or tablet. It uses two 180-dgree lenses, combining the image internally before sending the result for viewing.

At this point there was no information about image size and resolution. Currently it only takes stills, but the company is considering trying to also capture video. At this point there. As the Ricoh demonstrator explains: 

 "It has two fish-eye lenses, each of which covers 180 degrees. The camera combines the two pictures, and sends them via Wi-Fi to a tablet or smartphone for viewing. The idea is, the pictures you take arrive automatically. When viewing it like a regular panoramic image, you can also see up and down. When you pull out from the image, it finally becomes a circle, and you can also look at it as a sphere." 

"This camera represents a step beyond SLRs and compact cameras. The project began with the idea that, if taking spherical panoramic photos was easy, the results might be fun. Currently, the camera takes still photos. But we'd like to enable it to handle video, too. We're still just presenting this technology, so the specs haven't been decided yet. Right now, we're at the stage of seeing how people react. If people think this camera is fun, we'd like to commercialize it, and make it a bit smaller. We want to keep developing it, so we can offer a version for consumers." 

 "This is a project we're discussing with staff at art colleges. We think this technology could also be presented as a "panorama ball," where the pictures are stuck onto a sphere."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Supporting Heartkids Orphanage in India

Every now and again something really great happens. Seeing Heartkids use Panoramic Earth to display virtual tours of their orphanage in India was one of those. Heartkids runs a number of homes for orphans and children abandoned by their families around Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. Each Heartkids home houses up to nine children, providing them with a house-mum and a loving, nurturing environment. Because of what the charity does, every day about 150 children aged 4 to 18 find a safe place where they get food, clothing, play and education. Outside they were rejected, living hand to mouth in extreme deprivation. Inside there is life and hope for the future.

Heartkids not only provides for the children but also medical help for adults, especially those suffering from leprosy, HIV or polio disabilities. These individuals are rejected by society and forsaken. Yet through the work of Heartkids their humanity is acknowledged and some dignity restored.

Panorama of Heartkids Home 1 full supplied by Panoramic Earth

Such work always needs more support, and if you are interested then you can help, get involved and make a difference.

At Panoramic Earth, we are just grateful to have been allowed to play a part. And we would welcome this more, so if you have a worthy cause you would like to let others know about with virtual tours, then please talk to us.

New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth