Valley Junkyard Night Photography and Camaro Eclipse 360 Panorama

Valley Junkyard Night Photography Gallery

Valley Junkyard Night Photography Gallery

Eight new night photographs from last week’s night photography and light painting workshop are now on my website. Hit the full screen button and go big!
You’ll see star trails, old VWs, Datsun 240zs, piles of tires, trees growing out of cars, and more.

Camaro Eclipse: A 360 degree full moon junkyard panorama

Camaro Eclipse: A 360 degree full moon junkyard panorama

And just as the total lunar eclipse was starting I was shooting a 360 night panorama of some old Camaros, El Caminos, trucks, and RVs. A nice halo formed around the moon, and you can see Mars shining brightly. This 360 night pano is part of a ten panorama night tour of the Valley Junkyard. Use your mouse to take a spin around the junkyard, and click on a white dot for another view.

360 night tour of the International Car Forest in Nevada

Virtual night tour of the International Car Forest of the Last Church

Virtual night tour of the International Car Forest of the Last Church


Last October I visited the International Car Forest of the Last Church in Goldfield, Nevada. There are about 40 cars and buses buried nose first in the ground. The work is a collaboration between Mark Rippie and Chad Sorg. Have a look at the gallery of long exposure night photos of the car forest on my website. On the second magical night of shooting under a full moon in the car forest,  I shot 360 panoramas. Enjoy a 10 panorama virtual night tour of the car forest by clicking on the image above.

Marquetry artist Ian Smith: 360 night panorama made of wood

In January, an artist named Ian Smith from Manchester England contacted me about creating a wood version of my Desert Center 360 night panorama.

Desert Center Gas Station Full Moon 360 Panorama — by Joe Reifer

Desert Center Gas Station Full Moon 360 Panorama — by Joe Reifer

Ian Smith works in the ancient art of marquetry, which involves cutting pieces of wood veneer by hand to create an image. Ian described the project as:

I am hoping to do a more modern pastiche of the baroque style (defined by bold curving forms and dramatic effects with a touch of the bizarre). I have been checking out your amazing work and in particular I love the 360 degree picture of the old gas station.

I sent Ian a high resolution image to work from, and the piece is nearing completion. I was really blown away by Ian’s interpretation of the image.

Desert Center Gas Station Full Moon 360 Panorama -- marquetry version by Ian Smith

Desert Center Gas Station Full Moon 360 Panorama — marquetry version by Ian Smith

As an experiment, I made an interactive version of Ian’s marquetry gas station piece.

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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.