Monday, March 16, 2015

Mika Salmi Panoramic Photographer from Finland

Panorama of Utransaari 2 supplied by Panoramic Earth

Mika Salmi recently joined the Panoramic Earth community, uploading some pictures from Finland. His photography mostly focuses on the areas around Lappeenranta, where he was born, and Joensuu, where he studied Information Technology. Photography has always been a hobby, and recently he has become much more interested in it, learning about panoramic photography and High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging in the last six years. Like most photographers, Mika says, “I'd like to think that I've done something right since some people have liked at least some of my pictures, but I'm quite self-critical about my pictures.”

While he likes the idea of HDR images, Mika recognizes that they have a specific feel about them that can feel somewhat artificial. Nowadays he is trying to use it, “more realistically and create pictures that don't necessarily look like HDR images straight away.” He enjoys outdoors, and enjoys shooting natural landscapes, which clearly shows in his work. He is also quite at home working in urban landscapes and interiors. In addition to the images he has on Panoramic Earth, Mika has also uploaded some of his work onto Flickr and 360cities. From photography, he is developing an interest in videography and has friends working in the aerial photography business in Finland.

Find Mika on Facebook

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Win Camera Gear Worth £3300 with 360Precision

Enter the 360Precision prize draw  for your chance to win over £3300 worth of camera gear and software. Open to everyone, this prize bundle is ideal for those wishing to try their hand at panoramic photography.
The competition closes on October 23rd 2014 with the winner announced on October 27th.
Enter 360Precision Prize Draw
For panoramic photographers, this is one of the most comprehensive, light weight, panoramic photography kit bundles available. It includes camera gear, software, professional panorama hosting and support. But even if you are not a panoramic photographer there is always eBay, so it is still worth entering for the resale value. The megapixel Sony A7 camera has an RRP of £1300, the lens about £270, the tripod about £450 and the 360Precision Carbone pano head about £435.
Photography Competition Prizes
360Precision Draw

360Precision Prize Items:

The lucky winner will receive all the following:

Whether or not you win this competition, if you create your own panoramas then try out Panoramic Earth for free virtual tour hosting options and embeddable content.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Panoramic Earth Moves to HTML5

It has been a while coming, but Panoramic Earth is now moving to an HTML5 panorama viewing engine. Up to now the site has been using a Flash version of KRPano. While this has proved great for several years, Flash is not well supported by mobile devices, especially if made by Apple. As the number of mobile users has increased, so this anomaly has been a growing issue.

For a while it has been possible to render equirectangular spherical panoramic images in HTML5, but not cylindrical. This meant that only part of the content of the site could be viewed with the new viewer. However, things have now moved on meaning that over the next few days all the 10,500 plus panoramas will be converted to the new version.
The viewing engine still comes from KRPano, one of the most popular panorama viewers on the market. With it come some new functions as well. Practically speaking, viewers on computers will notice little difference, but for mobile devices this will transform their user experience.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Google Maps Goes all 3D on London

Google Maps has given London a 3D makeover, allowing us to fly around the city like never before. Click on the Earth view of the map and, voilà, you are now flying through the virtual city as if in a computer game. All the buildings, bridges and landmarks within London are rendered and their perspectives change as you scroll around.

London is the latest UK city to receive the new makeover, others include Birmingham, Leeds, Reading and Stoke-on-Trent. So now you do not need to go to the top of the Shard to see what London looks like, simply pull it up on Google Maps and move around. What is more, weather will never get in your way. It is am impressive achievement, yet Google plans for more with the release of Project Tango and the desire to create a 3D map of the entire world, inside and out.

These 3D maps are an addition to the Street View panoramas (or photospheres as Google likes to call them). The later still provide the best images from street level, producing interactive virtual tours of cities, like this virtual tour of London. While amazing, the 3D rendering from Google maps looses detail at close zoom, detail which is clearly picked up in panoramas shot at street level like the one below.

© Peter Watts, originally written for Panoramic Earth.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Makarska and the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia

Makarska from the Statue of St Peter © Peter Watts 
Makarska is very picturesque town in the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. Nestled between the Biokovo mountains and the Adriatic Sea at the mouth of the Makarska Riviera, it is a very popular tourist destination during the summer months. The whole area is steeped in history, having been occupied for thousands of years and is even written about in Egyptian and Cretan tablets. During Roman times it was called Muccurum, and remains of Roman rule can still be seen in the region, not least in Split which contains the remains of Diocletian's Palace.

The image shown here is one of a collection taken whilst on a cruise down the Dalmatian Coast. Such trips are popular as they offer the opportunity to move from one town or island to another in comfort and ease, providing a new place to explore each evening.

The panorama below shows a view from the other side of the bay. Makarska has plenty of holiday apartments and hotels to suit all budgets and is well worth exploring if you are travelling through the region.

Written by Peter Watts

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.

New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth