Tag Archives: panorama

Oldie But Goodie Blast From the Past

This is from Capitol Reef National Park, a place that I definitely want to get back there some day. I only spent one afternoon here and was completely blown away. The light was absolutely spectacular.

Actually the drive from Brice Canyon to Capitol Reef was just about as spectacular than either of these two National Parks combined, I’d like to spend a few weeks at, and in-between, these two destinations sometime very soon.


This one is also one of my very large stitched multi HDR images that are about 85 inches by 17 inches when printed at 360 PPI. Click on it for a larger peek.

Oldie But Goodie Yet Once Again

Here is one of my favorite views, it is from the porch of our family cabin on an early autumn morning with the Sun burning the fog off of the lake. Actually this shot was not at all planned, I simply woke up for my morning pee and was completely blown away. I wasted absolutely no time since the light was absolutely perfect. Yes, I set up my camera and tripod and blew off several exposures for this HDR image shivering while still in my tighty- whities. If you look close near the end of the peninsula you will see the sign declaring the boundary of Voyageurs National Park. (click on it for a larger image)


2015 Fall Colors

This year the fall colors along the St Croix River were, although still spectacular, somewhat subdued. Still there were a few backwater areas that were worth shooting. Here is one panorama:

_DSC8395 Panorama_b_3_ps

The HWY 36 bridge construction still continues a year later, note that I now am using an architectural lens (Nikon 24mm f2.8 PCE) with tilt-shift capabilities and the images now show the bridge structures as actually parallel rather than pointing inwards. This is now my favorite lens.



Enjoying the last probable 85 degree day this year with some good friends:

First Successful Pano From My Multi-Rotors!

360 degree panorama of the End of the Ash River Trail: (click on it for a larger image)

_DSC2470 Panorama_ps

If you have been following me at all concerning my adventures into multi-rotor platforms for photography you may already know that I was pursuing a rock steady stable platform from which to take aerial photography shots from. Videography is definitely a back burner issue with me, my main interest is with still photography.

My initial disappointment was with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision in that the camera was rather poor quality, at least when measured against professional photographic equipment. The dynamic range was low, the lens was too wide an angle, the fisheye aspects were unacceptable, and worse the images from this camera were difficult at best to correct for image distortion.

I almost immediately sought out alternatives, the Go-Pro was also unacceptable to me since it also has a pronounced fisheye look to its images. Initially I adapted my Nikon J1 camera to the Phantom but found that it was simply too heavy to be safely flown with the Phantom. After exploring other avenues I found that I would have to spend over five grand to get a decent platform that could safely lift my Nikon J1, let alone my intended camera, my Nikon D800.

I was searching for a cost friendly alternative so I first built a quad using DJI’s E800 motor/ESC combination but found that these motors don’t come close to their advertised thrust in their “Tuned Propulsion System” it should, in all honesty, be called the Detuned Propulsion System. So I set out to build my hexacopter.

I was having troubles tuning the necessary vibration isolators to prevent the inevitable resolution robbing vibrations away from the camera. I was even looking to scrap my drone program entirely in favor of a balloon based system which has very little or no vibrations at all.

Then it dawned on me after a test flight. I have used tie cord as a safety backup in case the vibration isolators would become separated from the camera platform and after a previous hard landing all four indeed became detached. The next flight I forgot to reattach the isolators so the platform was hanging by the tie cord loops. The four tie cord loops were not all equal in length so the camera was flown at a ten degree, or so, tilt angle. After landing and giving my self a Homer Simpson DUH! I decided to download the flashcard and see what I got.


To my surprise the sharpest images that I have taken to this day from any aerial platform! That was the key! For the first time I was able to stitch a decent ten image panorama together! The problem with fisheye lenses is that they don’t stitch into decent quality images very well. Even though the camera was tilted and the copter wavered around due to both the normal GPS wondering and well as the ten to twenty MPH gusty breezes my stitching¬†program, PtGui Pro, ¬†was able to easily stitch the ten images together. The other main problem with this particular panorama is that I did not take the images with enough overlap. While there are some areas of the image that certainly need improvement it is the IMAGE RESOLUTION that beats all previous images taken from any ariel platform, at least by myself!

Next to stabilize it even more I will be looking into a downward facing stabilization camera to supplement the GPS for position hold as well as an ultrasonic range finder to supplement the altitude hold function. Using vibration isolators between the camera platform and then suspending the gimbal from the airframe with tie cord is a perfect answer for total vibration isolation for still imagery, while this is obviously not a very good solution for videography – well I really don’t care that much about moving pictures anyway ūüėČ

Update: I may have spoken too soon when suggesting that tie cord may not work for video, here is a video taken with the exact same setup as was used for my stitched pano:

You can clearly see the difficulties in taking a series of still images to stitch together for a pano, the copter is flailing around in the wind. Most of the jitteriness seen in the above video would be minimized when a two axis stabilizing gimbal is utilized. Note that the video from the Nikon J1 is not very good to begin with, compared to the D800, slow panning on a stationary tripod results in marked  loss of resolution, not seen at all in this video. I am becoming convinced that a third axis gimbal motor may be necessary due to the unreliably unstable rotation control of the hexacopter is around the z-axis, especially when windy. Yup, retractable landing gear and a third axis gimbal motor may ultimately be necessary.

Badlands Sunset

I was in the Badlands investigating some copyright infringements. I normally always use a visually non detectable Digimarc  copyright watermarking, but I am now convinced that in addition to this, a very noticeable copyright watermark notice needs to also be included to address those idiot thieves who actually claim ignorance or stupidity.

I have eyed this spot for several years and it looked as if this trip was also going to be a complete bust for this site. The sky was almost a completely cloudless blue, forgoing a very boring sunset. BUT there was a layer of haze near the horizon as well as a few clouds that actually mucked things up by filtering most of the light from “lighting up” the ridge-line.

The unique thing that I love about the Badlands is that the formations are basically blank slates, or whitewashed canvases. That is that the formations generally take on the unique colors of every sunset or sunrise. Here a half hour before or after sunrises or sunsets generally makes the entire region washed out blandness and a whole lot of nothing, artistically speaking.

There was a hole, or a layer, in the cloud formation near the horizon while the Sun was about one minute from dropping below that horizon when, for less than one minute, the ridge line “lighted up.” I actually had to desaturate this image in order to make it believable. Enjoy, click on it for a larger view:

_DSC8055 Panorama_cpThis was taken with a Nikon D800 and one of my favorite lenses, a Nikon 85mm f2.8 PCI tilt/shift architectural¬†¬†lens, my second favorite, especially found during this trip, is my newly acquired Nikon 24 mm PCI lens. The un-cropped image is 48 images stitched into an HDR 39744 x 7212 pixels image in size, or a whopping 20 x110 inches when printed at a very fine resolution of 360 pixels per inch fine art image, that is, it is NOT a ‘blown up” cheap poster image.

Note that this image does not represent an actually full quality printed image, the Moon here is merely a white disk, whereas, in the actual full quality print the Moon’s features, as well as many other features, are clearly quite visible and really quite breathtaking.


Kabetogama Peninsula From DJI Phantom Vision

Kabetogama Peninsula from a DJI Phantom 2 Vision directly above Ek’s Bay campsite. The largest body of water is Lake Kabetogama’s Lost Bay, a short portage to the east is Ek Lake and Agness Lake, to the north is Quarter Line Lake and Jorgen’s Lake, Slightly to the northwest is Little Shoepack and Shoepack Lakes, the source of a unique breed of Muskellunge. Far to the north on the horizon is Rainy Lake. To the south you can see the entrance narrows to Sullivan Bay.


2014 Mississippi Flood Crest

Here are a few pics of the Mississippi River Flood crest in St Paul Minnesota:

The Bandstand:


Shepard Road:_DSC4405

From Robert Street:_DSC4411

Harriet Island:_DSC4426


Railroad nearly under water:


Mainline commuter route – NOT, seven exposure HDR image._DSC4455_56_57_58_59_60_61_tonemapped_ps

The other one-way inbound to St Paul nixed:_DSC4476_77_78_79_80_81_82_tonemapped_ps

These next few images are done using a Nikon 85mm f/2.8 PCE tilt-shift lens. Note the plane of focus is not orthogonal to the line of sight:


In other words I can select two separate objects in the composure, the flowers and the Cathedral to be in-focus while every thing else is out of focus.


This is also the technique used to produce “miniature” effects.

_DSC4572 _DSC4610

and finally here are the RR tracks that are nearly under water:_DSC4648


I also have a several segment video including other flood sites that I will most likely post tomorrow, enjoy…

Oh Ya, I almost forgot, I had to do a multi row stitched panorama from Mounds Park, in the RAW format it was over 5GB in size and quite incredibly fine in detail, this version is shrunk down considerably but it still does the job, enjoy this one as well… (click on the image for a larger version)

_DSC4281 Panorama_ps


Minnesota Autumn

Here is yet another image taken with the Nikon D800, the details in the full sized print are astounding. This image captures the convergence of the three major ecosystems that uniquely  converges in Minnesota, the tall grass prairie competing alongside the hardwood deciduous and northern boreal forests in the background.

_DSC0420 PanoramaThe image is a composite of thirty-five images arranged in five rows and seven columns. The image would be 82″ by 36″ (roughly 1 by 2 meters) when printed at 360 Pixels Per Inch (PPI) ¬†and the file is just under seven giga-bytes in size. (click on it for a larger image)¬†Enjoy!