360 Night Photography: Coaldale Nevada Ghost Town

Coaldale Ghost Town 360 Night Panorama

I’ve just made a new gallery of 360 panoramas of the Coaldale ghost town available. Coaldale, Nevada was abandoned in 1993 or 1994. Located in a remote area West of Tonopah where Highways 6 and 95 meet, the gas station was closed due to leaking underground storage tanks.  I’ve driven through Coaldale numerous times on other trips to Western Nevada, but had never photographed there at night until last October when David Dasinger and I shot the town under a full moon.

I made a dozen 360 panoramas of Coaldale that night. My panoramic tripod head was setup to shoot 4 shots around at 5 degrees up using the Canon 8-15mm fisheye lens at 12mm on an EOS 6D. Exposures were 90 seconds at f/8, ISO 800. I’m not sure if it was the cold weather, but my focus was slightly soft within 5-6 feet of the camera that night. Everything else was sharp.

After stitching the 360 panos in PTGui, it looked like I had a big retouching job in front of me to get rid of the tripod, tripod shadow, and foreground seam lines from where the focus was a bit soft. I got busy over the holidays, and put the project aside. Yesterday I decided to have another look. I did a rough patch of the foreground using content aware fill in Photoshop. Then I brought the images into Pano2VR to build a virtual tour.

To get a rough idea of what the tour would look like, I used the patch tool in Pano2VR to generate a mirror ball over the tripod area. When I saw the image previews come up in Lightroom, I really liked how dark blue sky of the mirrored image sandwiched the content. The flat projection of the 360 looks like it was photographed from a reflecting pool. For a location with a lot of concrete in the foreground, this really made the images more interesting. Have a look at this gallery of 360 night panoramas of Coaldale, processed using the magic of the mirror ball.