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.

Valley Junkyard 360 Night Tour

Valley Junkyard 360 Night Tour
The Valley Junkyard is an old-school, post-war junkyard with thousands of cars from the 1930′s to 1990′s. Click the 360 night panorama above to take a virtual tour of this amazing place. The 360 night tour features nine night junkyard panoramas. Look for the little white dots along the horizon to link between panos.

These 360 night panoramas were photographed during the December 2013 full moon. Each panorama was created from 5 images shot with a Canon 8-15mm fisheye lens on a Canon EOS 6D. Most exposures were around 1 minute at f/9.5, ISO 800. The images were stitched together in PTGUI Pro, and  the 360 tour was created in Pano2VR Pro.

In April of 2014, Troy Paiva and I will be teaching a night photography workshop at the Valley Junkyard. The first workshop sold out in a few hours from our email list. If you’d like to find out about future workshops, contact me to be added to the list.

The Panographers, Episode 5: Panography of the Dark


The Panographers, Episode #5 features the work of some amazing photographers who shoot panoramas at night. The photographers in this episode are: Aaron Priest, Chris Georgia, Joe Reifer, Joergen Geerds, Jörgen Tannerstedt & Thomas Hayden. Great to meet everyone and see their work! Big thanks to The Panographers kingpin and all around nice guy Gavin Farrell for organizing and hosting these sessions.

Eagle Field night photography: Radio Room moonrise or UFO sighting

The night of the full moon is a good opportunity to integrate the moonrise into your photos. I’d been doing some shooting in the old Eagle Field radio room during last week’s night photography workshop, and thought the mannequin watching the moonrise out of the window would be a fun image.

There was a tungsten bug light hanging outside the radio room that we’d been turning off so people could light paint the various old pieces of equipment inside. I turned the light back on to help frame my shot, and made a few high ISO test images to check composition, focus, and exposure. Then I turned down the ISO, and made this exposure of 3 minutes at f/11.

Radio Room moonrise or UFO sighting #1

Radio Room moonrise or UFO sighting #1

The shot looked pretty good. So I turned off the light, and went outside the room to try lighting the scene with a flashlight. I experimented with various angles until I noticed the projected shadow of the mannequin on the wall. I went back inside, and set the camera to make a few exposures. My favorite light painted version of the image is below.

Radio Room moonrise or UFO sighting #2

Radio Room moonrise or UFO sighting #2

These photos were shot with an Olympus OM 18mm f/3.5 lens on a Canon EOS 6D. This lens has very little distortion. The camera was tilted up slightly, but I was able to use the new Upright feature in Lightroom 5 to quickly correct the perspective. I’d composed the shot a bit loosely to leave room for the cropping that was necessary for perspective correction. Upright worked surprisingly well for this interior shot.

Eagle Field Night Photography: Vintage Bentley and Ladies Lounge

Vintage Bentley under the stars at Eagle Field

Vintage Bentley under the stars at Eagle Field

A dozen adventurous photographers are enjoying the Eagle Field Night Photography Workshop this full moon. The owner pulled this vintage Bentley out of the airplane hangar for us to photograph under the moonlight. Troy Paiva and I help bring some elegance to night photography. Click the image below for a 360 degree view of the Ladies Lounge inside the Eagle Field airplane hangar.
Eagle Field Ladies Lounge