Dingne (France)

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while. We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘D’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include.

Dinge (France). Pictures from April 28, 29 2015.  Camera – Fuji X-E1, X-Pro1 and Revue-3 film camera.

Chero Village (Kampong Cham, Cambodia)

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while. We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘C’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include.

These pictures taken during a two week volunteer session at OBT (Organization for Basic Training), a Cambodian-run non-governmental organization established in 2007 by Sophal Pot to provide education and empowerment of the children living in Chiro Village.

November 30, 2014 – December 12, 2014.

 

Bhaktapur City, Nepal

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while. We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘B’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include. 

All photos from March 3, 4, 5 and 6 – 2015.

GoPro2, Fuji XE-1 and X-Pro

 

Aix-en-Provence (France)

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while.  We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘A’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include.

All photos from April 24 & 25, 2015, with either a Fujifilm X-Pro + 55-200mm 3.5-4.8 or Fujifilm X-E1 + 14mm/2.8

Commuting

All eyes looking straight ahead Walking home from work today, I mentioned to a neighbor that I have been repeating the very same route that i have followed for 20 years – up the hill to work, down for lunch, up after lunch and down again at 5pm.  Each way, is approximately 12 to 15 minutes.  In winder and in summer, rain or shine. Sometime I bike to work – and it takes a few minutes less. For him – it has been 29 years – up and down on the same route. He is totally happy with his commute as he knows the alternatives – driving, train, subway or bus as many people do.

That brought back a memory of a few years ago when I was in Nepal. On this particular day, March 1, 2015 I was returning to Kathmandu from Syabrubesi afer completing the Langtang Trek. The trek was certainly memorable, even with symptoms of altitude sickness and having a stupendus headaches for three days (actually, it felt like long nail jabbed through my forehead).  The commute – Yes, the bus ride was certainly one to remember. Add in, fog and rain – along with many ill passengers – Just what was that liquid sloshing all over the floor ….!!

I was fortunate to be up front. Myself feeling a bit ill – but not wanting to empty my guts out the window, as it would have gone in through one of the other windows farther back. 

Occasionally we could feel the bus slide in the loose gravel or mud. Time seemed to stand still until the wheels caught and the bus resumed moving forward. I had mistakenly read the news prior to entering the bus and learned that another bus has slid off the road and down a steep ravine and everyone was killed.   In Nepal – bus crashes are common and with deadly results especially on the windy narrow un-paved single lane mountain roads that are carved into the hill sides with abundant blind- hairpin turns. Say that ten times fast.  Thee are no guard rails – anywhere. Usually the bus crashes are blamed on overloaded busses, poor road conditions and poorly maintained vehicles.

Obviously, my bus ride wasn’t so dramatic. A couple of pictures to show the roads, bus and some of the fellow passengers.

Yes – that 15 minute commute doesn’t seem that bad after all. Click on the pictures to make them bigger.

 

All photos taken with a Fuji X-Pro1 and Fujinon 14mm lens.

Six days in Victoria BC

Six days in Victoria BC with Jennifer.

Six days of Shopping, Sun, Green grass, Coffee shops and abundant Craft beer !.

Two cameras – Fuji X-T1 (Fujinon 35/1.4 lens) and Leica M 240 (Leitz Canada  28/2.8, Voigtlander 40/1.4 and Leitz Elmar-C 90/4 lenses).

OK – I know what you are thinking !.

Why Both the X-T1 and M 240 ?.
Valid question – Yes, they are similar, But different. 

The conversation about camera gear will come in another post. Enjoy the images and drop me a line if you have a comment. 

 

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.

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.