April 21, 2008

keepin' perspective


I'm dedicating today's entry to one of my favorite Spazmoid All-Time Dork-Outs: namely, a lifetime odyssey of stitching pictures together badly. I've been working for the ultimate panorama shot since I was ten years old and living in London, scaling St. Paul's Cathedral and trying to get a snapshot of the entire city at once. If I can find those pictures, I'll post them, but they were taken with an Instamatic camera with 110 film, so it all looks a little like Niépce's first photo ever taken.

As the years passed, I figured out how to hold the camera correctly, and then Photoshop created "photomerge", quite possibly the most magical use of computer processing power since Zaxxon. While I did the massive autumn panorama of the farm by hand, now I'm able to create vistas like this one over the farm a few Decembers ago:

click any of these pictures for bigger versions

It's not always perfect - last night, during the full moon, I snapped some pictures of our porch from inside our darkened house, and it looks like something from a carnival ride:


Either way, it's a damn sight better than my panoramas of yore. Below, for your endless amusement and unfathomable boredom, I have an old bulletin board of photos that have yet to be Photoshop Photomerged™. Clockwise from top... the Carrboro farmhouse Annie, Greg and I lived in (1994); my bedroom at the Pink House (1997); my dorm room, 407 Grimes, which I inhabited with Jon and Chip (1987); the Carrboro farmhouse again in winter (1995); the Purple House in winter (1992); and the same spot in Audubon Park in New Orleans with different people from 1987 to 1997.


Posted by Ian Williams at April 21, 2008 11:11 PM
Posted by: Isis at April 22, 2008 2:50 AM

You know, I think the photoshopped versions are tres cool, but the old pinned together ones--of which I have quite a lot in my various photo albums---have a very different but very real sort of a appeal. Kind of like the difference between making someone a mix-tape and a CD. The CD sounds better, flows better, is easier to replicated, etc., but the mixtape is a labor of love.

Posted by: Anne at April 22, 2008 4:17 AM

Whoa -- I love the sunset panorama, Ian. Guess I need to learn Photoshop so I can create a similar shot of our bay some evening. Very, very nice.

Posted by: Anonymous Canuck at April 22, 2008 6:49 AM

Check out AutoStitch (http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html) or one of the commercial products based on their technology. It does a great job of automatically fitting and blending images, including compensating for shifts in camera position.

Posted by: Bud at April 22, 2008 10:20 AM

Excellent pics! I should have accepted your offer to tidy up the panorama on my old blog header (the budster dot com) -- but at the time I had a tiny monitor and didn't see any problem.

I'm with Isis; there's something special about the handmade pans....

Posted by: Summer at April 22, 2008 10:42 AM

My heart fell to the floor of my chest cavity when I spotted the Purple House on yer board there. God I miss that place (in time).

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