Tag Archives: panoramas

Panoramic Alberta

Back in April I took a too-brief trip to Alberta, Canada because of you-know-why. We drove west out of Calgary, up the Icefields Parkway through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, then east along the Yellowhead Highway to Hinton. I posted a set of pictures from the trip on Flickr. Here I've posted a few panoramas to whet your appetite.

One of my hobbies is stitching strings of photos into panoramas. I got hooked on this when I lived in the Mojave for a season. The long, flat horizons are difficult to express in a single shot. A long, flat panorama captures the scene better -- gives the viewer a more immersive experience in the environment, just as it was for me when I was there.

Also, why get an image of just one mountain when you can get an image of four?

The Miette Range looming over Talbot Lake (really big version)
Talbot Lake and the Miette Range

The Athabasca River in front of Mount Greenock (really big version)
Athabasca River, Jasper National Park

The Athabasca River running under Mount Fryatt (really big version)
Athabasca River, Jasper National Park

This is one of my best, I think, just for the scene.

Athabasca Falls (really big version)
Athabasca Falls

The funny things about Athabasca Falls is that when we visited it last year, it was absolutely swarming with people -- tons and tons of people. Thanks to an unexpected snowstorm on the way up, we had the place to ourselves. Hooray for quietude. Also, that blue, just-melted-from-a-glacier water is amazing.

All of these panoramas were created in Hugin. It is a fine piece of software that you should use if you get the itch to create panoramas yourself.

("Hey, we found a dead mouse in our beer, eh. That means you owe us a free case.")

Panoramas from the Heart of the Mojave

A week ago, I was forced to go to Sacramento for a business trip -- forced, as in "don't fling me in dat brier-patch." Seriously. Have to leave Houston to go to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada? There are many, many worse things in life. I'll write more about the trip later. I'm still fussing with a .kmz file that shows my travels on a map. You know me: I'm obsessed with maps.

In the meantime, I wanted to show a few photos that I took in Trona, California. I tell people that I grew up in the middle of nowhere in Fulton County, Illinois. Trona is... maybe at the end of nowhere -- the end of the world, right before you fall off into the abyss. In other words, it's a pretty cool place.

It's hard to describe the Mojave Desert in photos in the same way that it is hard to describe central Illinois in photos: the place is wide open, expansive. If you focus your camera on the so-interesting horizon, you often end up with a so-disappointing photo. It's maddening. That squarish rectangle that your camera captures does not capture what it feels like to be in the wider landscape.

The way around this is to capture a panoramic view of the landscape. I have been taking panoramic photos since I got my first digital camera in 2004, but I have never tried in earnest to stitch them together. Finally, with this batch, I mustered the impetus to try it.

So, I picked up a copy of hugin 0.7.0 from SourceForge to create the panoramas.

It was fairly easy to use. There is a feature to create the panoramas automatically, but I set the control points -- the points common to multiple photos that would be stitched together -- manually. It looked better like that because I could do some quality control on each point, plus I did a more thorough job picking control points in the common areas.

Click each photo for a link to its page on Flickr. Welcome to the desert. Let me know what you think.

Trona Pinnacles:
Trona Pinnacles Panorama

Trona Pinnacles, from on top of a pinnacle:
360 Degree Panorama from Top of Trona Pinnacles

Panamint Valley, from CA-178:
Panamint Valley Panorama

If you're impatient, you can see all of the photos from this trip on Flickr before I write about it: California, October 2008

Trona Pinnacles: blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ridgecrest/trona.html