Author Archives: shawn

Bernal Heights Park & equirectangular things

fun with 360 photos in interesting places.

I’m an equirectangular photo

Bernal Heights Park in San Francisco has sweeping views of the city. Which is as good a reason as any to shoot a 360 photo. I’m still using Google’s Street View App to manually take all the photos needed for a 360 degree shot. which doesn’t really do that great of a job, so some cleanup was necessary but I did find a useful desktop app to help with the editing called Pano2VR which does some cool conversion tricks, like converting equirectangular (see photo to the left) photos to cubic (see photo below) and vice versa.

So whats up with these formats?

The Cubic format consists of 6 undistorted, perspective images: up, down, left, right, forward and backward, whereas the Equirectangular format is one single, stitched image of 360° horizontally and 270° vertically. The Cubic format suffers from less distortions than the Equirectangular, but the Equirectangular seems to be more popular.

the final product; so after some research, trial and error and some old fashioned photo editing I finished up with the 360 photo below.  Pano2VR turned out to be a great tool not just for conversion between formats but also for the end user experience.

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600×480 doesn’t do it justice,  full screen it and enjoy the view.

360 Valley View

my first foray into the photosphere world turned out to be a lot more work then I was planning for, as it turns out it’s a bit more complex then a panorama.  but I did accomplish what I set out to do and I learned a lot in the process. I used the google street view app to take the photo, I also took a few panoramas just in case I had stitching issues, which I did. and I used pano2vr to convert between formats and photoshop to edit, I’ll go into more details about all that in a future post.

it was a good day for photos, blue skys with cumulus clouds all day so I took advantage of the opportunity and took some shots on and around Merced Falls road. there’s lots of scenic views of the valley out there.

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the small resolution doesn’t do it justice so make sure to full screen it.

Wisco and Mil-Town

one final excursion to end 2016. A place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. A little place called Wisconsin…

not the best time of year for photos but I managed to grab a few

 

Emerald Bay and the Joys of creating Panoramas

Photoshop is the most popular image editing application out there, but that doesn’t make it the best solution for every task. like photo stitching, which is something your going to need to do if you want to create seamless panoramas. I’ve been using Photoshop’s photomerge function for some time now but I’ve just recently discovered Autopano which has made the whole process faster and much less cumbersome.

here is a side-by-side of the results, you can see how photomerge failed to stitch the seam perfectly, leaving the image sheared where the original two images met to form the panorama. a common problem that takes a lot of time to fix.

 

I took a short day trip to Lake Tahoe for these shots of Emerald Bay; the top image is the photoshop image and the bottom is the autopano image. I cropped and corrected the colors but left the stitching exactly as it was produced by the application.

Emerald Bay

Photomerge

Emerald Bay

Autopano

interestingly enough, photomerge normalized all the photos and erred on the light side, and autopano erred on the dark side. which is usually preferable but it also produced some strange color variation that didn’t correlate to the stitching. nevertheless its typically easier to fix tone issues then it is to fix stitching issues.

one of the biggest problems with panoramas is the time it takes to make sure it’s done right. but with the right tools, I may be posting more of them in the future.

 

El Valle de Anton y arboles cuadrados

in english it’s the square trees on Anton valley.. but really they should call it “the somewhat square trees of a small grove in Anton valley”. it’s an interesting place but I would definitely shoot for a more honest title. it’s actually located behind Hotel Campestre and they charge a few bucks to see it.. its a short five minute walk through some jungle overgrowth.

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Isla Iguana

One of the lesser known places in Panama. Clear waters, white sand and yes, iguanas, as well as a healthy population of hermit crabs. Isla Iguana turned out to be quite a day trip. $30 and 20 minutes gets you there on boat from the closest beach. the rest is pretty simple, spend the day there chasing the local wildlife around; fish, crabs and iguanas. they all seem friendly (and almost catchable). its a small isla, only two beaches within a 5 minute walk from each other. lots of beautiful views and lots to see underwater too. the only thing missing was a hammock.islai_1_sml

It’s a bright sun and the limitation of my cell phone camera are evident. out of the several dozen photos I took, only a handful  didn’t look washed out and over-exposed. but I still got some great views.

As it’s namesake implies, its the home of numerous iguanas, but also the home of thousands of hermit crabs. the beach is filled with them. Video captures it best.