Category Archives: Places

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.

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.

Fort San Lorenzo

In fear of an impending attack by sea? …There’s a place for that.

built in the later half of the 16th century to protect the mouth of the Chagres river. Fort San Lorenzo still stands as one of the coolest places to visit in Panama. The fort comes complete with cannons and strategic oceanfront views, lots of walls and nooks provide great spaces for hide and seek and if you go in the off season, you get the place all to yourself.

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Panama Viejo

This is what it looks like after your city gets attacked by pirates, set on fire, destroyed by earthquakes and aged for 500 years. there’s a little more to it then that but those are the main ingredients. I think it fared well considering.
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The Eastern Sierras

Mono Lake from Cemetery Road

Mono Lake from Cemetery Road

The Eastern Sierra, although beautiful, is much more desert-like then what you see in California’s Central Valley and Highway 395 is the best route to see it, also the only route.  I started in Minden Nevada and traveled south all the way to highway 178 which leads back into the Central Valley.

at about 5 hours from Minden to Bakersfield, highway 395 is the perfect one day road trip through California’s less populated east side. there are long stretches of open spaces to the east and one long mountain range to the west with plenty of photo opportunities along the way, including some nice views of mono lake, open plains, Isabella Lake, the Sierras (of course) and several small towns. View some of the highlights below.

Iquitos and the Amazon

The Gateway to the Amazon

The Amazon is huge and there are many stops along the rivers edge for people to take in the views and local wildlife. I typically avoid the touristy stuff but this was actually pretty interesting. lots of animals, birds, monkeys, fish, etc. and of course some beautiful views of the Amazon. I spent two days exploring the place and each place I visited was different. 2 stops were all about the animals, especially the monkeys, which were a lot of fun. also got to see some giant fish, Paiche, they call them.