Abandoned ski resort 360 night panorama

Abandoned ski resort 360 night panorama: Breaking the star trail barrier

Abandoned ski resort 360 night panorama

Abandoned ski resort 360 night panorama — by Joe Reifer

During the supermoon I photographed an abandoned ski resort in the Lake Tahoe area. While we were scouting the location, photographer David Dasinger mentioned that he’d seen a 360 pano with reasonably long star trails. The full moon 360 night panos I’ve been shooting have typically been four exposures of 90 seconds, in order to keep the stars and shadows aligned when stitching. As an experiment, I shot a 360 night pano with four 6-minute exposures. The longer star trails stitched perfectly in PTGui. The ground required a little bit of extra retouching because the tree shadows moved during the long exposures. Other than that, I’m excited to report that it IS possible to have longer star trails in a 360 panorama.

Use the button on the bottom right to go full screen, and you’ll see the stars circle around Polaris over the wood house. The star trails are diagonal to the east and west, and almost horizontal to the south. Zoom in just to the right of the supermoon, and you’ll see our tents in the trees. More photos from this location soon.

Update 7/7/2013: Three additional panoramas have been added to create a virtual tour.

13 thoughts on “Abandoned ski resort 360 night panorama: Breaking the star trail barrier”

  1. Very cool! I was there a few months ago, during the day, and while it was full of snow. Interesting to see it like this.

    1. Cool. I’d dig seeing this place in the snow, although the weather is more pleasant for night photography in the summer.

  2. This is great! (both the shot and the location!) I think I am going to take a crack at some panos this week while I’m on vacation. Very inspiring.

  3. I need to get a fisheye, to shoot a full sphere with fewer photos to get less gaps in the star trails, but this was my approach with a robotic head:
    http://www.aaronpriestphoto.com/2013/05/full-sky-star-trails/

    I might get a used Nikon 10.5mm fisheye and shave the lens hood off for my full frame sensor. I think three photos would capture the whole sphere. The longest gap between frames would then be 1 minute if I was shooting three photos of 30 seconds. The gaps wouldn’t be that bad I don’t think. It’s either that or take a single frame straight up at 8mm (a full circular fisheye), and blend in a single static ground shot to each sky frame. But that wouldn’t help with moon and shadow movement along the ground, etc.

    1. With 4 around and no zenith at 90 seconds, there aren’t star trail gaps. The 4 around shot with 6-minute exposures only shows gaps to the very discerning astronomer. :)

      A shaved Nikon 10.5mm is reportedly a good option. The Tokina 10-17mm can be purchased with no hood. I had the Canon version — pretty sharp except for the extreme edges. The 8-15mm is sharper and handles flare better though.

      I’ll have to try shooting straight up at 8mm for long star trails. Also just wanted to say that I’ve really been enjoying your night panos and time-lapses!

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