Thursday, July 28, 2016


Been awhile since I've posted something here. Seems summer is indeed a time to be idle whether I like it or not. I had plans to, at least, getting more into Geltani conlang project which had stopped completely for ages now, but my life pace in between mood swings and tired body because of the heat, all that left my activities dwindling. Yet, I'm still waiting for my new toys which had some delays and lags in placing their orders.
Anyway, things were not completely idle, but I've been busy somewhat trying to fix VR panoramas, old and new, in order to upload them to Facebook and 360Cities. I'm glad that Facebook enabled this feature already; I used to struggle with QuickTime VR photos. I have though to make a little twitching in the EXIF data of the image to trick Facebook machine into believing that my panorama image is taken with a dedicated panorama camera; a new trend apparently.
On the other hand, I'm a new comer to 360Cities, despite the fact that it is an old website for viewing and uploading VRs. I needed an easier medium to share my VRs, and after long hesitation, I've arrived to this one. I'm still learning to use the features in the website and it has some advanced viewing options (such as the architectural view) which expands the enjoyment range a bit.
Despite being a new comer, but one of my uploaded panoramas was an Editor's Pick and was displayed in the website's homepage! The VR is for a corridor just in front of the entrance to the main praying hall in Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman; a VR I shot during a photography trip with the group to Oman in September 2015.

The Corridor

This same panoramas was also a subject for various projections as well as 3D rendering in various projections. The good thing here about 360cities is the fact that I can embed my VRs into this blog without the need to follow my old procedures and without the need for the viewer to have QuickTime installed! It is such a relief indeed, though it might be a bit clogged with tags displayed.
This is an encouraging start, and now I'm checking old panoramas that I've neglected doing a VR for. Some of them are troublesome of course and might need a lengthy work (and yet fixing them wouldn't be assured); while some of them are tempting me to re-shoot.


 Meanwhile, with some of this tiny success and reaching the 100-viewers limit for the previous VR, I come to think about the future aspect and how things would evolve in the future specially with the advent of specialized panoramic cameras, like the Ricoh Theta.
Generally, for the public this seems a plausible solution and an amazing tool with some artistic potential. Even though I didn't use any of those specialized cameras or GoPro, but I know they do have specific advantages that my classic methodology wouldn't compete with:
  1. Such cameras provide (supposedly) an instantaneous 360o capture. Which means moving subjects are captured with relative easiness.
  2. Judging from the few samples I've encountered so far, seems that such cameras do provide a good exposure expanding the whole width of the panorama.
  3. Easy to carry and place.
  4. Some of them are able to make a VR Video and not only a stable VR Photo, which is more active.
These are just some of the points that crossed my mind right now. Anyway, I still don't believe those are a replacement for a "true" panoramic photography, or let's say the "classic" method of doing panoramas. This is for a number of points:
  1. The higher resolution (not only in numbers but in sensor size as well) that is involved naturally with using DSLR cameras.
  2. Even though it is not instantaneous, but it's a great deal for using the HDR technique.
  3. More stable with a tripod (but I'm sure the new technology has its own methods).
  4. More creativity in terms of using filters and converted cameras for shooting the panorama.
  5. Stitching freedom and flexibility for more creative endeavors.
It would be nice to have one of those to try out, even though I'm quite busy developing my own style with panoramas specially with the addition of a converted camera to my collection. However, this classical approach is quite what businesses would need to publish and promote themselves. Just a comparison, I do already own panoramas that might be printed on 3 meters (~ 9ft) width of paper under 72dpi. One might argue that the file size for these 360 cameras is relatively small, and I'd say this is natural; their resolution is supposedly low (in terms of sensor size and photoreceptors size). The resolution is directly connected to the capabilities of printing later on, as well as the noise level and how much the image should be cleaned and sharpened. Let's face it, even DSLR images require that at the end, but the degree of work needed would differ (and full-frame cameras are more resistant to noises for various reasons). All that, makes me believe that the classic panoramic ways are still valid. Those new technologies might be just a "traveler" level devices (if I can call them so), which are used to document the moment rather than making art, or let's say delve deeper into the art. I won't talk about the VR Videos here since it's out of my "appetite."

Dawwar tal-Qaddis
Infrared panorama done with unconverted camera, and stitched in tunnel projection.


Now with the upheavals, and the ups and downs in my life, all I'm looking forward to is getting the new gear and start to work on something; anything. Not sure where life is leading me, but bit by bit and slowly, I'm seriously forgetting my interest in this world.
Seems there will be no traveling for me this year as I'm trying to restrict my budget beside other domestic issues in my life. I'm eager though. The name of Morocco is still a frequent visitor to my mind. The architectural adventure there must and should be an enormous one.
Till that day comes (hopefully), I have to work my mind out on my projects here, specially those forgotten ones…

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