Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Lights at Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens are a very popular tourist attraction near to Victoria on Vancouver Island. Every year the gardens are decorated with extensive lights, themed on the Twelve Days of Christmas. Around the gardens you will find various installations depicting the 12 days, from a partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming.

It can take a couple of hours to go around the gardens. It is often raining here, and free umbrellas are provided. While this can make for a somewhat damp evening, it does mean that the lights reflect wonderfully in the wet stone.

Taking virtual tour images under these conditions can be quite tricky. The paths are narrow and often full of people. It is dark and very long exposures are required. The best time to do photography is towards the end of the evening when the crowds have thinned out. At that time it is possible to get some stunning images, making for dramatic virtual tour panoramas as shown below.

While these conditions can be a challenge for the photographer, the results can be dramatic and very much worth the effort.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bouncing around Stone Henge

Everyone loves a bouncy castle, it does not matter how old or young you are, jumping around on these things is just fun. Most people have also heard of Stone Henge. In the summer of 2012 these two were combined and during the London 2012 Olympics, a life sized, inflatable version of Stone Henge toured various parts of London. Turning up for a single day in any location, this built-to-scale, bouncy Stone Henge drew large crowds who queued to jump about on it. Designed by Jeremy Deller and known as Sacrilege 2012, this proved to be an instant tourist attraction wherever it appeared.

This Stone Henge takes about 4 hours to erect, and has a capacity for about 100 jumpers at any one time. As explained in the video below, the oldest bouncer was over 90 years old. Of course, inflatable objects are, by their very nature somewhat unstable, which makes taking panoramas of them difficult, even more so when people are jumping around on them. This did not stop someone from trying though, as shown above.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters of East Sussex, England, are a famous series of hills and cliffs the march along the coast between Seaford and Eastbourne within the Seven Sisters Country Park. These cliffs offer dramatic views over the English Channel and surrounding countryside and often stand in for the White Cliffs of Dover for films.

Seven Sisters 360 Panorama © Peter Watts 2012

On a good, sunny day (which are in short supply at present), the Seven Sisters are a popular walking route, offering a hiking challenge as the terrain is almost never flat and totally exposed to the elements. The onshore winds here are quite strong, as evidenced by trees bent over under its force.  Most people walk east with the prevailing wind behind them, resting their legs at either Cuckemere Haven or Birling Gap. The walk also takes you up the highest sea-cliff in Britain to stand atop Beachy Head with unparalleled views over Eastbourne. More information about this walk can be found in detail on the WalkingClub website.

Panorama of Birling Gap Beach supplied by Panoramic Earth

The area can be explored on this interactive Seven Sisters Map which shows 360 panoramas and virtual tours from most of the hills as well as other significant points on this route.

New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth