Long exposures at night with moving clouds can make stitching 360 panoramas difficult. The 6 panos in virtual tour below were shot some time ago. Over the last 6 months I’ve finally developed a reasonably efficient post-processing technique to get the clouds to stitch smoothly. I’ve also upgraded my pano player software to Pano2VR Pro, which makes building a virtual tour really fast. I’ll be adding 1-2 more panos to the tour over the next few weeks, and then creating a separate tour for another part of the facility. In a regular web browser, click the button on the bottom right to go full screen. The virtual tour also works on on iPad or iPhone. Enjoy the panos!
When I was a kid, my Mom would get Christmas cards from far away family members and people we knew who had moved away. The card or Christmas letter recorded the peak moments in a family’s year. So and so got married. So and so graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth. This was more than enough news.
I want to bring the spirit of the yearly news report back. I want social media to be like a Christmas card. The volume is currently much too high. There needs to be a Christmas card filter for Facebook.
I’m willing to make a compromise between current reality and the Christmas card filter. How about a monthly update from everyone you know that tells you the one big thing that happened. Look at this awesome cat photo. I had the best Sazerac at this bar. You’d have to pick the best thing that happened all month, and that would be the only thing you could post. Facebook — limited to 1 post per month, and everyone could see your post without filters or promotions.
I’d even make a further concession. Using my Watching Reading Listening Doing (WRLD) formula, you could make 4 posts per month on social media. The best movie you saw, the best album you heard, the best book you read, and the coolest thing you did in real life. Once your posts were done for April, you’d have to wait until May for the next ones.
Think about how much time you’d save. You wouldn’t have to hide or unsubscribe to so many of your “friends.” The world online would be a much of a better place with some editing.
But I’m an idea guy. I’m not going to start my own social network. So you’ll have to continue to please stand clear while dumping. Break your own rocks online if you want to. It’s optional.
There’s an extensive interview with me about shooting abandoned places at night over on Digital Trends. I talk about why I love night photography, how I got started, gear, location access, and technique. There’s also a portfolio of 10 images. Enjoy!
A 360 degree full moon panorama of a 4×4 rock crawling obstacle course in California’s Central Valley. Go full screen with the button on the bottom right. Check out that muddy tire pit — think you could make it?
Sometimes I get emails from students who have an assignment to interview a photographer. These interviews are often a good reminder to re-examine how I tell the story of my photographs. Recently I received some questions from a student on the Isle of Wight:
1) What inspired you to do the style of art you do?
My inspirations evolve every day. In addition to photography, I’m also inspired by film, music, and design. I’m a firm believer in the idea that paying attention to a wide range of artistic inputs helps your artistic output immeasurably. This could be the clean lines in the design of a chair. Or how an album sounds on a new pair of headphones. Everything can have a subtle influence on your art if you pay attention.
Ten years ago, photography and lighting workshops led me to the desert and I fell in love. From old ghost towns to more modern day ruins, there is a special feeling when you stand in a place where humans have come and gone. Visiting these places under the light of the full moon intensifies the energy. I hope I can capture a little bit of that feeling with my camera.
2) Have you always been interested in photography?
I’ve been interested in photography since high school, but music was my primary artistic outlet for 15 years. I started on piano, then guitar, and finally upright bass. A series of events around 1999 led to my slow transition from music to photography. By 2003 I didn’t own any musical instruments, just cameras.
3) Who bought you your first camera?
First camera stories are the stuff that bad artists’ statements are made of. Equipment needs to be easy to operate, reliable, and produce the intended results. Cameras come and go – it’s the photographs that count.
That being said, here’s my first camera story: My dad gave me a Petri 7 rangefinder camera that he had purchased while in the Army. The Petri had a fixed 45mm lens, and also included wide and telephoto screw-on lenses. When you used the screw-on lenses you had to use an auxiliary viewfinder and compensate on the focus scale. I would not call it easy to operate, but it was fun.
4) Did you take art or photography at school?
I studied electronic music and jazz in school, and somehow got a degree in literature. I lived near the college darkroom, and a friend who was a photo major taught me to develop and print. I also worked in a black and white lab for a short time. We used to buy old 620 cameras at thrift stores and jam 120 film into them. Photography was something fun to do when I wasn’t playing music.
5) What gave you the idea of taking photos of abandoned places?
I’ve always been fascinated with ghost towns and ruins. There is a rich photographic history of this type of work back to the 19th century. We live in an interesting time. A lot of what was built after World War II has come and gone. Photographs are a way to record the last gasp of these places before they’ve disappeared. There’s a line from a song that says: “how strange it is to be anything at all.” Examining ruins under the moonlight is a way to tap into the mystery of being alive.