360º Stereographic Photography

Having visited 360º stereographic photography in the past during my studies at university, I was keen to revisit this genre. Previously my work with 360º photography involved me taking numerous amounts of images, stitching them together and editing in them in the relevant software. All of this could be time consuming and in certain situations it would be difficult to set up my tripod without attracting unwanted attention.

If only there was a way that I could quickly and discreetly take images that would allow me to photograph a 360º landscape…and there I saw it advertised…the Nikon 360 Keymission. This was the answer that I had been looking for. I added it to my Amazon wish list and waited…and waited…and waited…and waited further more, but the release date kept being pushed back and there was no way that I was going to get this in time for Christmas. I even contemplated buying one from the U.S, even though it would cost considerably more. I then done some research on the internet to see why it hadn’t yet been released in the U.K and it seemed that there were some issues surrounding the software and the reviews that I had read were not great. This lead me to look at alternatives and I found the Ricoh Theta S. Initially I had concerns, as it was cheaper than the Nikon Keymission and I thought that this would compromise the resolution.

At Christmas I received the Ricoh Theta S and couldn’t wait to start shooting. After adjusting the settings and getting them to my liking, I am finding that it is a great camera to have and serves as a great alternative to the traditional photograph, capturing the whole scene as opposed to a fraction of it. It is a lightweight, fun camera to have and is a great addition to my camera kit. I will point out that the resolution is not the best I have ever seen but for the price you pay and for the convenience of not having to stitch the photographs together, I can overlook this.

A great camera for the novelty value and the software is easy to use and allows for some interesting and creative edits. I have not used the video function much but if you are looking for a 360º camera with a high resolution, then is would possibly not be your best bet and I would suggest looking for a product with higher videoing capabilities. This is a good gateway product into the world of 360º photography.

Here are a few examples of the images that I captured on one of my days out:

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Castle Acre, Norfolk

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Castle Acre, Norfolk

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Castle Acre, Norfolk

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Wrest Park

It has been a few months now since I left university and I have missed creating panoramas and stereographic images. So whilst out on a weekend stroll around Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, UK, I decided that I would create some new images.

The shots have been taken “hand held” as I still haven’t had the opportunity to purchase a panoramic head for my tripod. The images I can achieve from “hand held” are of acceptable standard but I know that having a panoramic head will make the stitching process far easier during post production.

Here are the images that I obtained:

Wrest Park © Richard Brochu-Williams

Wrest Park
© Richard Brochu-Williams

Wrest Park © Richard Brochu-Williams

Wrest Park
© Richard Brochu-Williams

References

English-heritage.org.uk, (2015). Wrest Park | English Heritage. [online] Available at: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/wrest-park/ [Accessed 12 Jan. 2015].

Ready for Assessment

I have spent much of this morning putting up my images and I am pleased with the way that they look. I had a few hiccups along the way with aligning them correctly and making sure that they were straight but I seem to have overcome this now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now all that is left to do is to give my presentation later this afternoon. Hopefully my nerves will not get in the way!

Finals & Artist Statement

Anthropogenic Impact on the Environment

 

 

For this project I have decided to concentrate on the theme of landscapes, a subject that I am passionate about. Each of the 6 images shows a “stereographical” interpretation of a particular type of landscape.

I have chosen to photograph landscapes that are not conventionally perceived as beautiful and have moulded them with the aid of digital manipulation to make them unapologetically abstract and give the viewer a new take on the landscape that they have been invited to view.

The images show a compacted landscape, an encapsulated environment and I chose to make them spherical to convey a planet. Each image in turn shows man’s influence within each landscape and how as a species we are changing the environment around us to our own advantage and means.

These images are not meant to convey either a positive or a negative message, just an interpretation of how we are shaping the environment around us.

 

Richard Brochu-Williams

Dungeness Power Station, Kent, 2014 © Richard Brochu-Williams

West Cambridge Site, University of Cambridge, 2014 © Richard Brochu-Williams

Sheltered Scheme, Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, 2014 © Richard Brochu-Williams

Rickney’s Quarry, Nr Ware, Hertfordshire, 2014 © Richard Brochu-Williams

Madingley Reservoir (Covered), Cambridgeshire, 2014 © Richard Brochu-Williams

Sizewell A & B, Suffolk, 2014 © Richard Brochu-Williams

 

Panography

Reflecting on yesterday’s tutorial with Holger Pooten, I decided to do some research into some photographers and artists that use panography within their work. There are many ways that a 360º panorama can be captured and displayed, some of which are inventive and particularly eye-catching.

Mareen Fischinger

Mareen Fischinger is a German photographer and has a passion for everything that involves photography. As well as being a photographer, Fischinger is also involved with photo production services for national and international clients, including art direction, casting, booking of make-up/hair & styling, location scouting and retouching services. Her panographic images caught my attention, not only because they are aesthetically beautiful but because they are abstract in their nature and they have made me think about the other ways in which I can approach my work when shooting a landscape scene.

Image

© Mareen Fischinger

Image

© Mareen Fischinger

Image

© Mareen Fischinger

The first image reminds me of one of my own images that I shall be using for my final assessment. My image also contains office buildings which are similar in their architectural style and I also have a crane present within my image.

As I had some images with me during the Photoshop tutorial, Holger suggested that I played around with these to experiment working in a similar style. We kept the images in a sphere shape (in keeping with my stereographic images) but in hindsight I think that the experiment would have looked better laid out from left to right.

Experiment with Holger

Image

Image created with the help of Holger Pooten. Images © Richard Brochu-Williams

Holger showed me new techniques and methods within Photoshop that will come in very useful for future experimentations & creations.

Sven Fennema

Whilst researching I came across another photographer & artist by the name of Sven Fennema. Sven has an interest in landscape and architectural photography and is inspired by the geometry of buildings, their shapes and their lines. I have noticed that on his website he has also included panoramic tours, this is something that I experimented with back in April this year but I was unable to upload the tour that I created to this blog.

Image

© Sven Fennema

Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours 2

I have also looked into the work of David Hockney, who also has created landscapes from multiple images. Due to copyright I cannot post any of his work to this blog but his images can be viewed on his website.

What I like about the images that I have found during my investigation, is the fact that they are stitched together rather crudely and not seamlessly (with the exception of Sven Fennema) and in my opinion this adds to the aesthetic properties of the image and creates an illusion of texture. This is definitely a technique that I will be experimenting with in the future. It’s a shame that I do not have enough time to experiment with this technique fully at the present time, as I feel that I could have produced some good work from using these methods.

References

4rtgallery.blogspot.com, (2014). Simply Creative: Panography by Mareen Fischinger. [online] Available at: http://4rtgallery.blogspot.com/2013/06/panography-by-mareen-fischinger.html [Accessed 5 Aug. 2014].

Hockneypictures.com, (2014). DAVID HOCKNEY. [online] Available at: http://www.hockneypictures.com [Accessed 6 Aug. 2014].

Mareen Fischinger Fotografie, (2014). Mareen Fischinger Fotografie. [online] Available at: http://mareenfischinger.com/places/panography/ [Accessed 5 Aug. 2014].

Sven Fennema – Fine Art Photography | Panorama – Fotografie, (2012). 360° Panography. [online] Available at: http://www.sven-fennema.de/panography/ [Accessed 6 Aug. 2014].

Wikipedia, (2014). Panography. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panography [Accessed 6 Aug. 2014].

Shoot & Reshoot

Today I decided to go out and do a reshoot of the Schlumberger Gould Building on the West Site in Cambridge, as the weather proved to give me the perfect setting. I am hoping that I can obtain a better image from this shoot and will be experimenting with stitching the images together tomorrow. I also decided to try and shoot at other locations. The first location was at Madingley Reservoir. Despite it’s name there seemed to be no evidence of any water or a reservoir that I could see but I did not venture in too far as there were warnings of CCTV in operation and I was not sure how safe the area was. I primarily went there because I had spotted some kind of transmission mast and this is what I was interested in. I also travelled to Burwell, where there is a sub station but I did not end up shooting there as there were too many obstacles in my way, mainly trees.

 

Madingley Reservoir

 

Madingley Reservoir

Madingley Reservoir © Richard Brochu-Williams

Madingley Reservoir

Madingley Reservoir © Richard Brochu-Williams

Madingley Reservoir

Transmission Mast © Richard Brochu-Williams

 

I shall be stitching and editing the images from the shoot tomorrow to see if I have obtained anything that will be worthwhile keeping for my final project.

 

Editing

Today has been a day for editing some of the images that I have obtained over the last couple of weeks. I have not accomplished much today despite my efforts, as my computer decided that it did not want to play ball and proceeded to freeze on me a couple of times whilst I was in the process of editing. Fortunately for me, I managed not to loose the work after having to reboot my computer, so that was a huge relief for me.

The editing consisted of tidying up the images where the stitching had not been applied properly. In most cases this is due to the parallax.

Parallax in Photography

Parallax error can be seen when taking photos with many types of cameras, such as twin-lens reflex cameras and those including viewfinders (such as rangefinder cameras). In such cameras, the eye sees the subject through different optics (the viewfinder, or a second lens) than the one through which the photo is taken. As the viewfinder is often found above the lens of the camera, photos with parallax error are often slightly lower than intended, the classic example being the image of person with his or her head cropped off. This problem is addressed in single-lens reflex cameras, in which the viewfinder sees through the same lens through which the photo is taken (with the aid of a movable mirror), thus avoiding parallax error.

Parallax is also an issue in image stitching, such as for panoramas

(Wikipedia, 2014)

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Editing in CS6 to correct stitching errors

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Editing in CS6 to correct stitching errors

I have a little way to go before my images are finished but I believe that paying attention to detail will pay off in the long run and I can be a bit of a perfectionist. Tomorrow I will be having a Photoshop Seminar with photographer Holger Pooten and hopefully he will be able to give me some advice and show me some new techniques. Here’s hoping that tomorrow will be a productive day!

References

Wikipedia, (2014). Parallax. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallax [Accessed 28 Jul. 2014].

Schlumberger Gould Research Centre

Today I took a walk to the Schlumberger Gould Research Centre to do a shoot for my project. I chose to go today, as I had the opportunity to go there at the optimal shooting time (between 12pm-3pm) and the weather was suitable. I am hoping to obtain a good enough set of panoramic images for stitching into a panorama. The Schlumberger building is an interesting looking building and despite living only a mile away from it and seeing it on a daily basis, I had absolutely no idea what the function of the building was or what it was used for until I did some research afterwards.

“The Schlumberger Gould Research Center (SGR) on the western outskirts of Cambridge, England, is a distinctive marquee-like structure housing multidisciplinary research teams of more than 100 scientists and technicians. Research focuses on drilling, chemistry, fluid mechanics, and seismics, through a combination of theory, experiment, and computational simulation.

Founded in 1982 as Schlumberger Cambridge Research under the leadership of Bernard Vivet, the center was renamed as Schlumberger Gould Research at an inauguration ceremony on October 4th, 2012 in recognition of the retiring Chairman and CEO, Andrew Gould, and his career long commitment to research and development.

With a strengthened focus on drilling, the company is now embarking on the development of the integrated drilling technologies needed in the future to produce oil and gas safely, efficiently, and with the required environmental care. The Schlumberger Gould Research Center is expanding to become the primary company research facility for these developments.”

(Slb.com, 2014)

Charles Babbage Road

Charles Babbage Road, Location of Schlumberger Building © Richard Brochu-Williams

Schlumberger Building

Schlumberger Building © Richard Brochu-Williams

I took several panoramas whilst visiting the Schlumberger Building and I am hoping that I will be able to produce a good image from these. I will be editing and stitching tomorrow.

References

Slb.com, (2014). Gould Research Center, Schlumberger. [online] Available at: http://www.slb.com/about/rd/research/sgr.aspx [Accessed 27 Jul. 2014].

Kirby Muxloe

I have been taking advantage of the good weather that we have been having and I travelled to Leicestershire to practice some more panoramic shots. This shoot was not the urban landscape that I have been photographing of late but it was a good opportunity for me to practice my technique and to keep myself familiar with the software that I am using. I find that if I do not do this on a regular basis, when I come back to use the software, it takes me twice as long to achieve my desired results because I have forgotten how to do certain things. By regularly practising, I become accustomed to what I am doing and I find that I work more efficiently.

Kirby Muxloe has a wonderful castle and this was the setting for this shoot. I really enjoy visiting castles and I am enticed by the architecture. The sense of history and what has gone on inside these magnificent constructions really draws me in.

The well known British proverb “An Englishman’s home is his castle” meaning: An English person’s home is a place where they may do as they please and from which they may exclude anyone they choose, strikes a chord with me and I think that my castle images work well with the stereographic format, as this provides an environment of it’s own for the castle, suggesting further that not only is the castle a place of privacy but it can be encapsulated in it’s own little world, providing a kind of private retreat.

I am continuing to photograph castles alongside my urban landscapes and I shall be comparing the two, to see which images have produced the best results.

Kirby Muxloe Castle, 360º Equirectangular Panorama

Kirby Muxloe Castle, 360º Equirectangular Panorama, © Richard Brochu-Williams

Kirby Muxloe Castle, Stereographic Projection

Kirby Muxloe Castle, Stereographic Projection © Richard Brochu-Williams

I was pleased with the results that I achieved during the weekend at both Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire & Rickney’s Quarry, Hertfordshire. It was certainly a productive weekend.

References

Oxforddictionaries.com, (2014). an Englishman’s home is his castle: definition of an Englishman’s home is his castle in Oxford dictionary (British & World English). [online] Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/an-englishman’s-home-is-his-castle [Accessed 22 Jul. 2014].

Rickney’s Quarry

Trip to Rickney’s Quarry

Rickney's Quarry

Location of Rickney’s Quarry. Image from Google Maps

Rickney's Quarry

Location of Rickney’s Quarry. Image from Google Maps

This weekend I decided that I would travel to Hertfordshire and scout out a location that a fellow student had advised me about, as she thought it would be a good setting for my project. I did a little research beforehand and saw some pictures that others had captured at the same location but unfortunately when I arrived a lot of the old equipment had been removed. I still decided to photograph, as it had taken me an hour to travel there and I thought it would be a good idea to see what results I could achieve with the landscape and the materials that still remained. There were some concrete structures and walls that were covered in brightly coloured graffiti and I thought that this could work well within my images.

Rickney's Quarry

Rickney’s Quarry, Hertfordshire © Richard Brochu-Williams

Rickney's Quarry

Rickney’s Quarry, Hertfordshire © Richard Brochu-Williams

I found an image that I really liked which was taken at the same location but this piece of equipment had been removed by the time I went to do my shoot. The image can be viewed via this link.

When I first arrived here, I was a little apprehensive about gaining access. When I drove up to the location I quickly noticed that there were other cars parked outside of the gates and that there was no signage with “Private Property” so I saw this as my queue to enter. I assumed that the other cars parked there were owned by people who had dogs and that this was a location that was used frequently by dog walkers. I did not come across anybody else whilst I was there but the area was very large, much bigger than I had anticipated. I took my panoramic shots and then left. I was not too full of hope about the image that I could achieve from this shoot, as the main piece of machinery that I wanted in my image was no longer there. When I got home I played around with my images and was pleasantly surprised. Below are the panoramic images that I took before they were stitched together and I have also included the 360º equirectangular panoramic image, but I have decided not to post my stereographic image, as I still have work to do on it and it is a possible contender for being included in my final project and I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

Panoramic Set

360º Equirectangular Panoramic

Rickney's Quarry

360º Equirectangular Panoramic © Richard Brochu-Williams

I am pleased with the results that I have achieved from this photo shoot, considering that initially I thought I would not obtain the results that I had hoped for. I am looking forward to working on my stereographic projection and having the image completed and gaining some feedback from it.

All images © Richard Brochu-Williams. All rights reserved.

References

Raven’s Eye Photography, (2014). Panoramio – Photo of 20th Century Fossil. [online] Panoramio.com. Available at: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/36949635 [Accessed 19 Jul. 2014].