Sonntag, 30. Dezember 2007

Singapore drawing board

This is on eof the most fascinating places in Singapore for me. Punggol. Most of the cities dump houses, condos, shopping centre somewehere in the green and afterwards start thinking about transportation. Here is different, first one create streets and a full flavor MRT/LRT with complete stations (only coke vending machine is missing), then start constructing houses. Thats like legoland ! Very attractive to return and do some more serious panoramic work. Soon...
Here some preview..

Singapore's rather unknown places

Being in Singapore for five years I really enjoy still finding places that are soo Orchard Road style, but rather unknown or hidden ! Having a car makes it easier to explore this places that dont have access by MRT. Today driving around Sembawang and Punggol. See by yourself, the Bottle Tree Village (link) you wouldnt expect in Singapore, right ? A great place to go for lunch or dinner !

Bottle Tree Village

Samstag, 29. Dezember 2007

Just black and white

As with 99% of all other digi cams offering a bw mode (besides color,sepia,whatthehack.. mode) the bw mode of the V705 is poor. So I continue to shoot in color and rather convert in the diglab at home. Just some very simple 2 bw pans.

Freitag, 21. Dezember 2007

Weather (before-after)

Is there a direct relation between public holiday and bad weather ? One day later, I happened to be nearby again and found this. Seems the Kodak V705 render the colors (sunny condition) very strong. Almost upset, because would have been lovely conditions for a serious panorama with the big panocam.

day before

Donnerstag, 20. Dezember 2007

Rainy Days in Singapore

What to do on a rainy day (one of many currently) ? No point setting up equipment, or start one of many tests of my current projects, so I ended up having a nice walk in the nearby Chinese Garden and creating some panos with one hand and holding the umbrella with the other hand. And how to spice up soggy weather pictures ? Cross-Process them ! My favorite style (for a while).

Samstag, 8. Dezember 2007

Daily Dose of V705 (Lavender and Geylang)

A walkabout in the streets of Singapore. Lucky there are still places less than perfect in this city, some corners with dirt, dust and reality. V705 playtime !

Montag, 3. Dezember 2007

Daily Dose of V705 (2)

I love to bring this small camera-cum-panorama-toy along. Yesterday's sunday afternoon outing to Pulau Ubin (Singapore island). But ..
a) a bit of light falls on the screen and its impossible to aim for the panorama segments to match.
b) if you dont have an object in the overlap to help you aiming, you are lost as well.
Its great to play, but not a source for 3x1m prints.

Dienstag, 27. November 2007

PanoRig Chapter 2 - Disassembling the camera

This is the first major challenge. There is no remote control or jack to plug in a remote control like in the good old times where could plugin a wire to trigger the shutter. A mechanical workaround like the inflatable-bulb-press-the-button is not an option because to unreliable. We need 10 cameras to fire at the same time (and all of them, not only 9). Todays consumer cameras are a small piece of plastic with lots of tiny electronics inside. There are not made to allow the owner to fiddle around with. Do you have a medium format camera ? You can access most of the interior easily. Since the manufacturer giving warranty on their camera, it is in their interest to be able to open and fix the camera when a customer sends it in for repair.

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any damages, injuries or mental or financial losses you might have or experience during the course of this exercise ! This is happening without direct or indirect support of BenQ.

Step 1: Open the box ;-)
Step 2: Get Ready
Only small screwdriver required.
Step 3: Remove all screws
Break the warranty seal, YES! I am sure the BenQ love this step because it voids the warranty.
Please take note where you remove the screws, there are different screws at the bottom.
Step 4: Open the body
Slowly tilt the backside to the upper part of the camera (with the buttons). Please do this carefully, try to get some feeling for the sensitive and plasticy body !
Step 5: Look around
Check out what you find after opening the stomach of the patient. Please take note of the very sensitive flat wire connecting back of the camera (screen) and the electronics. Do NOT attempt to remove it without special tools.

To be continued..

PanoRig Chapter 1 - Concept and Plan

1) Create a remote control for the camera. Since there is no build-in version, so we need to open the camera case and add some wires for external access. I will attach a jack to the body,
to add flexibility for setup and transport, also to allow to use the cameras individually.
2) Create a base plate with 10 tripod-heads, this gives some manual way for fintetuning the individual camera positions.
3) Create an external piece of electronic, a multiple trigger, that fires the 10 cameras at the same time. Optional use a remote control kit to trigger from a distance.
4) Use the camera with 10 memory cards, download and batch-rename the pictures to allow automatic stitching in PTGUI.

Sonntag, 18. November 2007

BenQ DC C740i times 10

Embarking on the next digital panoramic mission ! How you shot a 360 panorama of a crowded place without running into the problem of ghosts, half people/cars in the final picture because of shooting in segments, turning the camera and stitching the panorama afterwards ? You could use a Roundshot, but its film based or a digital panorama camera (Spherocam, Panoscan,..), but these cameras are too slow and not capable to scan moving objects correctly (due to the vertical scanner concept) even ignoring the hefty price tag.
Inspired by Chris Ramirez Event-Cam using 10 cameras on a rig and shooting 360 degree simultaneously I will build my own version of this. I hope Kaidan dont have a patent on assembling 10 cameras on a rig. But here the link to the original "camera".

Pre-Requirements (technical)
a) Manual Mode for aperture and shutter speed
b) Manual mode for color temperature
c) Remote Control

Pre-Requirements (my budget)
a) For this project spend less than 1500 U$.
(please fell free to mount 10 Canon 1Ds III with L 14mm together)

a) Mount the cameras on a plate on a tripod.
b) Trigger all at the same time remotely.
c) The parallax error that we create because the cameras are not virtually in the same spot (nodal point), but mounted in a small circle with the lens pointing outwards.

I am not sure how long this project will take, but I will publish all the steps as the projects progresses in their own chapters.

The Camera
I finally found the C740i recently launched by BenQ. This Korean brand is maybe not famous for cameras, but they sell this camera at a price spiced with features that you dont find (yet) in that low-budget range of consumer cameras.
Some of the key-features:
+ Manual mode (beside the usual full automatic "average joe" mode)
+ Manual color temperature setting (via sunny, cloudy,custom white balance)
+ 7 MP CCD sensor (1/2,5") creating max JPEG 3072 x 2304
+ Pentax lens starting somewhere around 38mm (in 35mm camera language)
+ Price (on Sales in Singapore: 169 S$, around 116 U$)
- 38mm is not really wideangle like the 28mm in the original project but it reduces the parallax problem.
- No remote control.

To be continued..

Sonntag, 11. November 2007

Gigapan Woy Woy Bay

A lovely place near Sydney. A dream to stay with my family in a small house by the sea, a boat. (Fullscreen link)

Samstag, 10. November 2007

Gigapan Adelaide

A large panorama from the trip to South Australia earlier this year. Some activities in the harbor.

Freitag, 9. November 2007

GIGAPAN gigantic panoramic views

I uploaded a couple of pans to the page, I like the concept ! Now they allow to embed the images at other locations. Lets have a try !

Lamma Island, Hong Kong (30.000 x 3.800px - 114MPix) - (GigaPan link)

Mittwoch, 7. November 2007

Daily Dose of V705

The V705 is convenient to bring along, about the size of a mobile phone. I carry her around for a couple of days and even bought a spare energy pack. I need to admit it is impossible to do proper panorama aiming with bright light, I cant see a thing on that screen. Some PS added as ingredient here.

Sonntag, 4. November 2007

New projects

Finally I finished my presentation (and the preparation!), so I can return to the drawing board and work out new (and crazy) projects !
Do you the strange feeling when removing the warranty seal from a camera ? I bought 10 (in words: ten) cameras (the same type of course) and now embarking on a new panoramic project. I keep you posted in the next days and release more informations about. Keep tuned.
(Exhibition/Fair on Friday, nothing to buy, just look and touch)

Mittwoch, 31. Oktober 2007

Endless books

Some scenes just ask for getting it repeated endlessly. Where is the start ? Where is the end ?

Freitag, 26. Oktober 2007

On the road with the V705

The first street test with this cam. It is sometimes hard to aim the second and third shot when you have either the sun in the back or there is nothing in the image seam area to help you to position the subsequent shot. Some shots from the streets of Singapore today. The TOM technique is hard to apply on 180 degree images without tripod !

Donnerstag, 25. Oktober 2007

Perfect Panorama with the V705 (II)

Just a quick shot to compare the turn-over-tripod-mount (lets called it TOM) trick.

"Before" Image shot by just roughly pointing and using the assistant on the screen to match. 2 severe stitch problems.
"After" Try to maintain camera position between shoots and using TOM. Still one error, but minor.

In the next session I will compare with a shot using a minitripod.

Perfect Panorama with the V705

I heard some people complaining about the in-camera stitching capabilities of the Kodak V705. I dont agree and give you a tip how to do it right. Even a consumer-size cam like this one has something like a nodal point. In this case this point is pretty much the same like the tripod mount of the camera.
Instead of holding the camera in the usual 1/2 meter from the face, and turning with the whole body and try to match the subsequent panorama images, you try to rotate the camera over the tripod mount. That looks odd and might not be easy for 3 shots because you kind-of need to walk around the camera floating mid-air. But I guarantee you best results with hard to spot seams.
Sample 1: Forget about panoramic composition or light, its a test-shot ! the objects are close to the minimum distance of 25cm and slightly out-of-focus. I made 2 images using the rotate-over-tripod-mount-point. Close objects show always parallax errors if you dont rotate over the nodal point. Can you spot them here ?

Warning Wave

It seems the internet community is solely focusing on sending warning letters and suing each other. The second time I received a letter from a country I visited before to remove certain content in relation to the countries tourism business from my websites. I just hope that landscapes, landmarks, public accessible subjects remain public for photographers and dont become a complete "NO PHOTOGRAPHS OR 10.000$ FINE" area.
Interesting Link1, Link2 in regards of S-O-H in S-y-d-n-e-y.
One day we will find ourselves in a world where you only can take pictures of sand or clouds or water because someone owns the commercial rights on anything else.
The best thing: The name of the person working for legal department of country X sending the last letter send is "Sue". Was that the precondition to get the job ? LOL

Freitag, 19. Oktober 2007

Digital Makeover

Nothing new, in the world of glamor photography beautifying the models is part of the show. Knowing that I judge all the slimming adverts in our newspaper by the creativity and the skills of the PS artist. But this pimp-my-picture seems to be a common request, and customer totally underestimate the effort. I frequently get the request to remove things, polish walls in panoramas.
I always feel like cheating, but what can I do ? Maybe it would be easier if a customer would appreciate your work and accept your quotation.
Sample (guess what is before-after)

Dienstag, 16. Oktober 2007

Kodak V705 Panorama

I remember, I was excited about the announcement of the Kodak V570 in early 2006 when I heard about the 2 lenses and panorama function build-in. Ok, I thought for very long time they would use both lenses the same to create the panorama. Anyway, Kodak came out with a successor in August 2006, a slight upgraded version with 7MP and the breathtaking 23mm lens, which you wont find in this price segment and camera size ! I waited more than one year, Kodak stopped in the meantime the production of the 2 lens cameras completely (I heard create too much trouble), until I finally bought one last week for much less than the previous price of 699.00 SGD.
Even the camera is a consumer camera without any (very few) manual control and providing no RAW files, I instantaneously love this camera. Is a great toy, I can bring it along, its so small it fits in my shirt pocket and it speaks pano. I can play with pano ideas and the image and stitching quality is really ok! Unfortunately it reduces the size of up to 3 (which is almost 180 degree with 23mm) to 3.1MP for each of the images. The result is about 7MP in total. I assume the camera memory cannot digest 3x 7MP images to stitch or it just takes too long. Backdraw: It doesnt save the individual images and there is no way to change the stitching settings (with these results you not really need to). It also allows you to stitch 2 images only, but always on the spot, some kind of panorama assistant show you where to place the next shot.
Best results: Try to rotate camera over the tripod mounting point and dont move the camera with your whole body to cover 180 degree, and try to keep leveled. Believe me or try it our by yourself !
Oh, in case you become excited. Its hard to find a dealer selling this cam, you might find some on ebay.
Here some 2 and 3 stitcher. I will keep you updated with more exciting Kodak pano adventures !

Digital Panorama Camera

Did you never wonder why none of the camera manufacturer ever bothered too create a truly digital panorama camera ? Something like a XPan digital or similar ? I am not talking about the highend gear, like Spherocams or Seitz Digital 6x17, no, something like a small rangefinder camera or even a consumer size camera. But there is nothing, nada, niente, null !
Maybe there is no, or a rather a too small, market. Some brands started to bring out 16:9 formats in their cameras like the Leica D-LUX 3 or Panasonic LX2. Just for the records: Panorama starts with a aspect ration of 1:2 ! So these cameras are just missing the definition of panoramic format, but it is a start ! Some others tried (are trying) to build in-camera stitching to create panoramas on the spot. Kodak, Canon and Olympus are some of them (Canon only provides a panorama assistant in the camera). Anyway if some marketing guy read this, please make one !

Freitag, 12. Oktober 2007

Back again

Time to revive this blog again, too busy with the film blog Even the basics of panorama photography didnt change very much since the first panorama images around 1840's it is still very exciting in both digital and analog world. I came across the website which is site in beta-phase by Carnegie Mellon University in collaboration with NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group, with support from Google. Interesting concept and idea to collect high resolution panoramas (stitched) from all over the world. Some of the images are not perfectly stitched or just plain boring, but the majority is very interesting to explore. I created an account and uploaded a couple of panos.

Samstag, 2. Juni 2007

Lama Island

A recent trip to Hong Kong, I wonder if I manage to get there when it is not raining or not having terrible haze. Some of the islands around dont know car traffic ! Wonderful.
Lama Island, Hong Kong (org. 16.500 x 3.500 px)

Samstag, 12. Mai 2007

Australia - Three Sisters

Three Sisters, Katoomba, Australia (org 12.000 x 5.000 px)

Returning from Australia with a truckload full of panoramic works. This panorama shows the "Three Sisters" near Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. The legend says that three sisters fell in love with three men from a neighboring tribe, but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. Battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by a witch doctor to protect them, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back.

Mittwoch, 25. April 2007


From the my short trip back home to Germany last week. The view from the "Alpoertel" over Speyer. Its worth to take the breathtaking 5 storey staircase journey for 1 Euro to get this wonderful view. I wish I could stand on the roof, that would allow a 360 degree view in one go.
Altpoertel, Speyer (org 9.600x3.600px)

Limburg Monastery

This is a good location to start with. The Limburg is the ruin of monastery from some hundred years ago in Bad Duerkheim, Germany. Nearby by hometown, I visit this place when I come back home and I use it for all my photographic and panoramic experiments and tests.
Kloster Limburg (org 9.400x3.200 px)

Location on google map

This is an implmentation of Google Maps by Dont miss the chance to zoom out to find out about the location of the place. I will use this handy tool until I understand the Google Map API.

Dienstag, 24. April 2007

The digital Vista

Whilst covering thoughts and ideas about the classic panorama photography in my purepanorama blog I will enlighten you here with some of the digital panoramic work I am producing on my journeys or for whatever commercial use. Lets start walking....