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01/17/11 - Panoramas and the iPod Touch

We've been playing with a program called Panorama 360 which runs on the iPod Touch. While the iPod Touch is ostensibly an iPhone without the phone, it does have a camera and an accelerometer in it. This means that when you take a picture, the device can tell which way you are pointing the camera. If you take a series of pictures while pointing in different directions, it can paste them together to form a panorama. This isn't the first time anyone did this sort of thing. Mike Neimark built a simlar rig back in the late 70s, but it makes for a delightful new way of taking photographs.

These aren't like the panoramas we've taken before. Those were of much higher quality and stitched together using Adobe Photoshop. The iPod Touch has a cell phone camera, and not a very good one. It doesn't work very well in low light situations, such as one finds in a rain forest. The Panorama 360 program builds the picture while one watches it, so one can see the panorama grow and move the camera to capture more of the scene. The sensor in the camera isn't very good, and, let's face it, the human hand is no substitute for a proper tripod.

Despite all the problems, the panoramic photographs produce are atmospheric. They capture the light, colors and sense of the place surprisingly well. The first photographs were fuzzy, peculiar images, so strange that they inspired the Impressionists to rethink how one represents the world on canvas. These images are fuzzy and, perhaps, peculiar, but with digital cameras adding pixels and improving technically day by day, they offer an alternate way of capturing our world.

Taken from the Olympic Discovery Trail at the west end of the dike

The deli display at De Laurenti in Pike's Place Market

More goodies at De Laurenti, quite distorted because Panorama assumes a circular scan, not a linear one

Along the Lake Angeles Trail

Trying to capture the clearing caused by that great windfall some years back

The little bridge and water

Another view from along the trail

Keywords: panoramas, lake angeles, kale