Monday, October 1, 2012

Online Panoramas, Streetviews of Ruined Cities, Archaic Panorama Technology

If travelling is a fools paradise, as Emerson said, then what is virtual travelling?  Here we have two examples of recent virtual travelling to exotic places, and one archaic travel photography technology, the ancient but still expensive roll-film panorama camera.   But first the online paradise(s).

1. Online Panoramas has collected a variety of photographic panoramas and given them a consistent user interface. We have some of the usual suspects, the Great Pyramid of Luxor for example, but some unusual ones as well. Here is a picture from the Sawminarayan Akshardham in Delhi.  (Thanks to Speer).  I have trouble controlling the interface with these things, so I find them frustrating.  But the photography is pretty good, but better yet, there are some unusual places here.  This first one is pretty amazing and I have never heard of it before, let alone have a clue how to pronounce it.

Link to this and other panoramas.

2. Street Views of Ruined Cities

On the one hand, I love this panoramic photography that has been enabled and inspired by digital photography. On the other hand, I find it annoying after a while that I can see these places virtually, but am so impoverished that I have no hope of visiting them myself. A virtual "street view" of Pompeii is fabulous as an educational technique and I am delighted with it, but it just reminds me how much wealth matters in this world and how stupid one is not to have it.

To get to the Pompeii street view, go to, type in "pompeii, italy", and zoom into the street on one of the gray areas to the north which are ruins. At some point it will enter street view mode, and tell you which ruin or building you are looking at.

3. Archaic Panorama Capture Technology

For those who have not seen or know of the non-digital way of creating panoramas, they are pretty amazing. The following all use so-called "roll film" which was one of the earliest film formats that were not individual "plates" of film, such as 4x5 or 8x10. Roll film comes in 120 and 220 format, or roughly 10 or 20 6x6 cm (e.g. Hasselblad) exposures.

In the following cameras, one may get only 1 or 2 exposures per roll of film and the frame will be very long and horizontal. They use large format photography lenses with very large image circles, and they have tremendous vignetting. One normally shoots such things with huge anti-vignetting filters and one shoots very long exposures, which makes them suitable for landscapes but not for anything that moves.

Fuji 617

Linhof 617

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