This last piece of spreadable media had to link to my research project, so if you have read previous blogs you will know that this is looking at emerging photography and social engagement online.
After my attempt at using 360 photography apps, I decided to try to achieve a better quality for my images by using an SLR and tripod. I was passing by the coast and decided a beach setting would be a good day to try and get some images, not knowing that this would pretty much the coldest day of the year!
I went to Ainsdale sand dunes at lunchtime and later (after lunch and hot chocolate) to Crosby beach where the Anthony Gormley statues are situated to see the sun setting.
I don’t have any special 360 equipment, specifically I don’t have a panoramic tripod head that measures turns or angles, or a wide angle/fish eye lens so was forced to take a bit of an ad hoc approach. I only did a spin on one level to create a spherical panorama to see how I got on. I took the pictures is RAW with a manual lens F stop 11, 1400 shutter speed, ISO 320 for Ainsdale and Crosby the settings were the same but the shutter speed was 1/500.
When I took the images I counted approx 5 shots per quarter to make 20 photos all together for the full 360 turn. I also tried this with 32 shots, with 8 turns per quarter to see if the amount of overlap made any difference to the quality of the stitching. I figured any more than that was going to be overkill if I wasn’t going to be looking up and down as well.
I used the free software Hugin to stitch the photographs together, this it the result:
I think that this turned out quite well for a first attempt, there are no obvious ghosting or dramatic light changes and the panorama looks interesting to look at with the focal point of the statue and the glow of the sun setting. You can zoom in quite a bit before blurring as the resolution of the picture is very high and the stitching is well done.
I did try to stitch the sand dunes, but the run assistant crashed 5 times so I gave up!
Good results, but not reliable enough.
Photoshop Little Planet
I decided to edit a little 360 planet too as they seem to always be associated with 360 photography.
I think this one turned out well as it is a relatively smooth circle considering the environment of water pools, sea, hills, a shipping yard, wind turbines and beach. I think the Anthony Gormley statue on the off centre makes it look like he is the only inhabitant of this lonely looking planet.
Image Composite Editor Stitcher
I decided to use the Microsoft stitcher software to see if the stitching process was any smoother than that of Hugin. To be honest I think the stitching quality was similar, but I found that this software was much easier and quicker to use compared to Hugin. I thought the Image Composite Editor was more intuitive, but didn’t stitch quite as well with the lighting conditions on the beach as you can see the stitch joins upon closer inspection.
Reliable, but not so good at stitching as Hugin.
Photoshop Little Planet
I don’t think that this planet worked very well as it is a bit lumpy on the outside and the long grass looks repetitive with harsh differences in the lighting. I don’t think the panorama for this image was the best to use as it was quite a repetitive landscape with not much of a focal point.
Online Sources for Spreading
I found it quite difficult to ‘put’ these images online. I didn’t want to just put it on the interactive viewer on Facebook, or pay any money to create tours with software such as Panoweaver.
So I tried Tumblr, as you have the option to slide around the panorama on their website and it provide links to external social media.