Now that SpaceX has announced its plans to visit the International Space Station later this year, they have unveiled the PictureBubbles° panorama that we created. And the LA Times took notice.
This was an incredibly challenging shoot. Not only was the working space limited by cargo racks in the vehicle, but also we had the additional challenge of needing to open the floor hatches. And we needed to make sure that all of the shots would line up in 3D-space so that they could be blended together for the final presentation. We shoot with a tripod, so that took some ingenuity.
We positioned the camera and tripod in the center of the Dragon spacecraft for most of the shots. But when we started opening the hatches on the floor, there was no longer a place for the tripod to stand. We then shot a series of photos with the tripod elevated off the floor (by inserting the legs into the rigging on the sides). It was makeshift, but it worked extremely well.
The greatest bit of trivia: during some of the spin-arounds, there were two people in the spacecraft at all times: me operating the camera, and a SpaceX engineer moving things that I was not even close to allowed to touch. Bear that in mind while scrolling around.
There is a TON of Photoshop magic hiding how all of that came together, but we’re really proud of it.
Pacific Pinball Expo 2010—click thumbnail image to view panorama
There’s nothing like being in a room full of pinball machines that are all set to “free play.” With a collection spanning the entire history of pinball, the Pacific Pinball Expo in San Rafael was an extraordinary experience. These 1960s/1970s machines in the foreground were amongst my favorites, but there were hundreds more to play with.
Marin County Civic Center—click thumbnail image to view panorama
While on our way to the Pacific Pinball Expo in San Rafael, California, we stopped at the Marin County Civic Center to explore Frank Lloyd Wright‘s final masterpiece. This may be my favorite of all of his works; it’s interesting to see his architectural sensibilities juxtaposed alongside late 1950s/early 1960s stylistic memes, all mixed together with the beautiful landscape of the Bay Area.
When we at PictureBubbles° start a new project, creating the full 360° by 180° panoramic photographs is only half the battle (or half the fun, really); where our panos really shine are in the context of a complete virtual tour of an environment. These tours allow us to leverage interactive web technology, most notably Adobe Flash, as we create photographic experiences that tell a story.
Over the past year we had the opportunity to develop such an experience for New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. The school’s home base was recently renovated and received LEED Gold Certification for the environmentally-friendly practices used in the planning and construction of the new floors. After photographing the spaces and stitching everything together, we created a website and tour interface that really ties the room together (quoth Lebowski). A visitor need only click on a “hotspot” to bring up a sticky-note with more information about the feature underneath.
Flash is a technology that can easily be misused or abused, but its richness now permits just about everything to be done through a web browser. Thanks to Flash-based panorama / virtual tour software, we’re able to create completely custom interactive hotspots that make a panorama more than just a picture. With text, images, animation, sound, and video, the possibilities are pretty much limitless. But for the sake of accessibility and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), we also make sure to provide much of the same content in an HTML-based context.
I’m having one of those days where I go back and check out all of the things I said I’d do “later.” Amongst those to-do items were some panoramas I’ve taken in the past year or so that I’ve been meaning to post on the blog. The first set, here, is from our PictureBubbles visits to the Mount Wilson Observatory here in California.
Inside the 100-ft. Telescope’s dome. The desk looks almost Jules-Verne-steampunk, no?(more…)