360 night panorama of dead palm trees at Desert Center
These dead palm trees alongside Highway 10 in Desert Center were planted in 1990 by Stanley Ragsdale. He said he always wanted a “tree-ring circus.” Stanley died in 1999, and it’s amazing the trees are still standing after 14 years without being watered. Desert Magazine has an excellent story about Stanley’s father, who was known as Desert Steve Ragsdale. Desert Steve founded Desert Center in 1921. Use your mouse to have a look around the interactive version below — the button on the bottom right will take you full screen.
Technical Details: Canon EOS 60D with 8-15mm f/4L fisheye at 9mm. The optimal lens setting would have been 10mm but I bumped the lens ring. 6 shots around, 1 up, and 1 down. Each exposure was 60 seconds at f/8, ISO 800. I used a Really Right Stuff PG-02 pano head on a Nodal Ninja rotator.
Stitching the panorama was difficult due to the fast moving clouds. I used the masking feature in PTGui Pro to optimize the blend areas. The layered files were exported, and blended in Photoshop. The standard blending engine in PTGui doesn’t do a good job with sand and gravel. Using Photoshop or Smartblend to blend the images creates a crisper ground area. The interactive version was created in Pano2VR.
Built in 1971, the 13-story Warren Hall Building on the CSU East Bay campus was right on top of the Hayward Fault. Due to seismic safety concerns, Warren Hall was imploded yesterday at 9 a.m. using 1,100 charges.
I got stuck in traffic and was running late getting to the demolition. Realizing there was no way I’d make it to the recommended viewing spot at the Kmart parking lot in time, I pulled into a strip mall and parked in front of a donut shop and cash for gold store. With only minutes to spare, I put my Sony RX100 on a Nodal Ninja carbon fiber pole, pressed record, and stood on the corner with a crowd of onlookers.
Technical Details: I shot the video at 60p on the RX100, which becomes 30p in an editing program. The 60p setting is best for slow motion, and the shutter should be set to 1/60. For regular footage, the 60i setting has a lot more data. This is somewhat unintuitive because 60p is 28mbps and 60i is 24mbps. Run Gun Shoot has a great post about the RX100 video settings.
For a quick lo-fi edit, I took the MTS (AVCHD) video file and created a 720p mp4 using HandBrake. I dropped the mp4 into iMovie, and sped up the beginning and end of the footage 4x’s. The demolition itself was slowed down to half speed. I mixed in some music by Gong, and kept the native audio at 50% volume.
Voilà – 53 seconds of gongs, screeching, and a building falling down in slow motion.
A row of trucks under the moonlight at Eagle Field
This morning Troy Paiva and I announced a new night photography workshop to our email list. We’ll be at Eagle Field for the full moon this November – it’s a historic WWII air training base with a cool collection of cars, planes, and old buildings. As of this afternoon, the workshop is full. Contact me to get on the waiting list, or to get on the notification list for next time. You can also contact Troy regarding an alumni event at Paul’s Junkyard in the Mojave Desert, October 18-20th.