2016 Snowking Winter Festival XXI

March 1, 2016 – The Grand opening of the 2016 Snowking Winter Festival XXI. Check out the official Snowking Winter Festival webpage ….http://snowking.ca/

These are a couple of sneak peak images and panoramas from inside the castle and from the roof.

Yellowknife snowking

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. Use your mouse or swipe the screen to look around. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

Yellowknife snowking

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. Use your mouse or swipe the screen to look around. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

 

Yellowknife snowking
Yellowknife snowking

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. Use your mouse or swipe the screen to look around. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

2016 Snowking Castle – Nearing Completion

Have a look around inside the 2016 Snowking Castle – it is almost Done !

DSCF5255 Panorama-2

Click Here for a Larger Image

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. Use your mouse or swipe the screen to look around. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

2016 Snowking XXI Castle – in Progress

This is a quick n’dirty post – just to see if I can still remember how to photograph, generate and post 360 virtual reality panoramas.

Seems fitting in a way – as I haven’t done this in two years, and this image is of the yet to be completed snow castle for the 2016 Snowking Winter Festival in Yellowknife.

SHS_6458 Panorama-2

Click Here for a Larger Image

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. Use your mouse or swipe the screen to look around. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

Twin Pine Hill – one of best places to enjoy a scenic view of Old town Yellowknife, and Great Slave Lake.

Twin Pine Hill – one of best places to enjoy a scenic view of Old town Yellowknife, and Great Slave Lake. These 360 degree panoramas were created from photos taken on May 18th, 2014.

In this view, Old Town is in the distance, to the north. Franklin Avenue (center of photo) separates Peace River Flats and Willow Flats (right side) and continues to Latham Island and N’Dilo in the distance. If you look carefully, the melted remnants of the Snow Castle can be seen, along with house boaters commuting across the ice, and a even a kite skier behind the houseboats.

Click on the image for a larger view.

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

In this image, along the ridge to the southeast of the previous photo, Old Town (Willow Flats) is on the far left. The road winding up the hill is School Draw, an the remains of a recently burnt house can be seen in the center part of the photo.

Click on the image for a larger view.

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

These panoramas were created by combining 5 photos (4 photos at 90 degrees to each other, and the fifth taken straight down at my feet to fill in a gap), using a Nikon D700, a ‘shaved’ Samyang 8mm lens with a custom built panorama head see Making Panoramas with a DIY Panoramic Head and a Monopole. The hardest part of making these panoramas was photoshopping out all the garbage and smashed bottles…

Making Panoramas with a DIY Panoramic Head and a Monopole

These notes describe the tools and technique that I use to create 360 and spherical panoramas. If you are interested in producing high resolution landscape or architectural panoramas – this is not for you as these types of panoramas require different tools (panorama heads, tripods and lenses). Check out the links below on tools and techniques to create high resolution and architectural (including interior) panoramas.

360 degree panoramas are best described as panoramas that cover up to 360 degrees in a single, super wide image, whereas Spherical panoramas can be described as the viewing of a seamless 360 degree panorama that is displayed on a interactive viewer (e.g. QuickTime VR, Flash or HTML5), and allows the observer (i.e. You) to interactively pan left or right, up and down and zoom in or out to look at the scene in different directions. The end result of spherical panoramas, is to give the observer the feeling of actually “Being there and looking around”.

The first step in making spherical panoramas is to create a seamless 360 photograph, that is wrapped in a sphere or cylinder. There are different methods to capture the separate photos that are stitched to create the seamless 360 degree image; ranging from more accurate (panoramic heads with lens specific clicks) to free hand (dangling a weight from a string over a specific feature on the ground). All methods require that the camera is rotated through an imaginary point ‘entrance pupil’ near the front of the lens to avoid (or minimize) visual off-set (parallax) when stitching the photos. Generally, the fewer images to stitch the less effect of parallax.

The tools that I use include a Nikon D700 camera, Samyang 8mm f/3.5 lens, a very simply DIY (make-it-yourself) panorama head, remote cable, and a monopole. Previously I did not use a panorama head, and simply mounted the camera to the monopole using the tripod screw on the base of the camera. This method works well as long there are no objects close to the lens (i.e. wide open areas), which cause parallax. Now, with a simple DIY panorama head (total cost approx. $10.00) there are fewer problems with parallax. Do note – that these tools and techniques work for me, and may not work for you, nor is this technique necessarily the correct or most accurate.

From top to bottom, I use the following camera gear and tools.

  1. Nikon D700
  2. Cable release
  3. Modified Samyang 8mm f/3.5 lens. I cut off the plastic lens hood to maximize the field of view. Similar lenses are sold as Rokinon and Bower.
  4. DIY panorama head (details on construction below).
  5. Manfrotto Bogen compatible umbrella swivel and Manfrotto 200PL-14 Quick Release Plate.
  6. Kacey adapter to mount the Manfrotto quick release to a standard paint pole type extension pole. The adapter has a 5/8 standard strobe pin on top and standard extension pole threads (3/4 x 5 threads per inch) on the bottom. Kacey website.
  7. Monopole (extendable painters pole), purchased at a hardware store.

Assembling the DIY Panoramic Head

My initial plan for a DIY panorama head was piece of metal plate that attached at one end to the camera tripod screw the the other end extending to the entrance pupil of the lens. However, the thought of the relatively heavy Nikon D700 bouncing up and down on the metal plate deterred that plan. Plans then turned to some way of attaching the front of the lens directly to the monopole. Then I found a muffler clamp. Sliding the muffler clamp over the entrance pupil of the lens – it was a close fit, and the U-shaped clamp only had to be widened by approximately 0.5cm. Scrap UHMW plastic was used to fill in gaps between the lens and the muffler clamp. A sheet of scrap metal (steel) was cut and drilled for the base, and two ¼ thread nuts are used to tighten the muffler clamp (finger tightened only). A coat of black automotive paint and adding the Manfrotto Quick Release Plate – then done !.

Total cost approx $10.00.

Note that the axis of rotation passes through the centre of the lens and the Nodal Point (entrance pupil).

Camera settings

These are the camera settings that I use;

1) File format set to ‘Raw’ 

2) Exposure mode set to ‘Manual’ – Set shutter speed minimum 1/30, aperture f/5.6 to f/10 depending on light conditions. Determine exposure for average light reading, not with lens pointed at the sun.

3) Set focus to manual

4) Set camera to full frame mode

Shooting Technique

To make my life easier, I always use the same lens and camera combination for spherical panoramas. With the shaved Samyang 8mm, I shoot four images each at 90 degrees apart (camera level).

  1. Camera settings as above
  2. Test photos of the scene to set exposure
  3. Walk to desired location, place the monopole on the ground. Remember the starting direction.
  4. Press shutter and rotate 90 degrees to the right (clockwise).
  5. Stabilize monopole, repeat 90 degree rotation and press shutter,
  6. Continue until back to starting point
  7. Done…walk away Click on the photo below to see it bigger.Depending on the scene, I might add two additional photos:
  8. Step back and take a Nadir shot (-90) by holding the monopole at arms length and point camera down to where the monopole was rotated in previous steps, at approximately the same height as the monopole, to create a foot-free image and,
  9. Take a Zenith or straight up (+90 degrees) shot  by tilting the camera up 90º (approximately over the rotation point), duck down, and shoot it. Zenith shots are only taken when in an enclosed space.

One I have the four (or six) photos, they are loaded into PTGui software to create the seamless 360 degree panorama and the spherical panorama. Check the links below for how to use PTGui software.  PTGui saves the spherical panorama as a Flash (.swf) movie that can be displayed on a website.

Examples of Flash (.swf) movies

A view of the inside of the Snowking’s Castle, during the 19th annual Snowking Winter Festival. Click on the image for a larger view.  To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.
SCH_4251 Panorama-2-2
SCH_4478 Panorama-2
The view from the top of the Castle, and the “Deadman’s slide”. Click on the image for a larger view.

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

Bullocks Bistro, in Old Town Yellowknife serves up the best fish in town, and is often featured on CBC Arctic Air.  Can’t think of too many restaurants that actually let you, and encourage you to leave your mark on the ceilings and walls !.

SCH_3491 Panorama-2_TM-TB Click on the image to see it bigger.
To view a 360 degree animation of this scene, Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

Everyone’s favorite place to be on a hot sunny day….The Beer Garden (2012 Folk on the Rocks)

To view the 360 degree animation of “Snake People” in the Beer Gargen . Click Here This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

19th Annual Snowking Winter Festival (2014)

There is only one Snowking, see here wearing his trademark yellow jacket. As usual, Snowking was willing to pose for the camera, and simply walked into to the picture. Five pictures were combined to make this mosaic.

A view of the inside of the Snowking’s Castle, during the 19th annual Snowking Winter Festival.
SCH_4251 Panorama-2-2

 

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

The Royal Courtyard. Click on the image for a larger view.SCH_4463 Panorama-2

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

SCH_4478 Panorama-2
The view from the top of the Castle, and the “Deadman’s slide”. Click on the image for a larger view.

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

SCH_4528 Panorama-2
The Ballroom, or call it what you want. This is where the bands play!!. Click on the image for a larger view.

 

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

To view photos and 360 degree animations of the 2013 Snowking Winter Festival – Click Here.

For more info on the Snowking Winter Festival, Click Here

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and a Peleng 8mm lens on a custom monopole. Five pictures were combined to create the panorama image on this page.

Pilot’s Monument, Yellowknife

Pilot’s Monument is the best place to go for a scenic view of Yellowknife Bay, Old Town, with its unique character and Downtown Yellowknife (actually up the hill from Old Town). After climbing the stairs to the top of the hill, the view is spectacular. At the top there is a brass plaque as a tribute to northern pilots.

In this image, downtown Yellowknife is directly under the sun on the right side of the image. Pilot’s Monument is in the middle of the photo, and Back Bay is on the far left.

Click on the image for a larger view.

To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and a Peleng 8mm lens on a custom monopole. Six pictures were combined to create the panorama images on this page.

Bullocks Bistro – Yellowknife’s Best Known Fish Restaurant

Bullocks Bistro, in Old Town Yellowknife serves up the best fish in town, and is often featured on CBC Arctic Air.  Can’t think of too many restaurants that actually let you, and encourage you to leave your mark on the ceilings and walls !.

SCH_3491 Panorama-2_TM-TB Click on the image to see it bigger.
To view a 360 degree animation of this scene, Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and a Peleng 8mm lens on a custom monopole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images on this page.

Snowking XVIII

Snowking Winter Festival XVIII: Children’s Theater – March 3rd 2013.

 

SCH_2823 Panorama-2

 

A view of the inside of the Snowking’s Castle, during the Children’s Theater (March 3rd, 2013).  Click on the image for a larger view.

 

To view a 360 degree animation of this scene, Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

 

SCH_2827 Panorama-2

Stage left:

 

For more info on the Snowking Winter Festival, Click Here

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and a Peleng 8mm lens on a custom monopole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images on this page.

Folk on the Rocks (FOTR)

 

Folk on the Rock (FOTR) started as a small gig in 1980, and has now considered to be one of Canada’s BEST music and cultural festivals.

Highlights include artists and musicians from across the north, across Canada and international all coming together for a weekend of musical and cultural magic on six separate stages. FOTR is held on the third weekend of July, in Yellowknife.

 

A split view of the Main Stage.

 

A view of the Cultural Stage. Click on the image for a larger view.

 

To view a 360 degree animation of this scene, Click Here. This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Depending on network speed, the image may take a moment to load.

“Little Planet” view of the Kids Stage. Click on the image for a larger view. Click ‘back’ on your browser to return to this page.
View a 360 degree animation of the Main Stage, Click Here.  Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

 

“Little Planet” view of the Main Stage. Click on the image for a larger view. Click ‘back’ on your browser to return to this page.

 

 

 

To view a 360 degree animation of “And the woman said” on Stage Left. Click Here This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

Everyone’s favorite place to be on a hot sunny day….The Beer Garden

To view the 360 degree animation of “Snake People” in the Beer Gargen . Click Here This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

To view the 360 degree animation of “Hot Vibrator” in the Beer Garden. Click Here This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

 

 

 

“Little Planet” view of the Beer Garden. Click on the image for a larger view. Click ‘back’ on your browser to return to this page.

 

 

 

 

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Samyang/Bower 8mm on a monopole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images on this page.