The lights on the distant horizon to the left are the Mojave Air and Space Port. The red lights in the far distance on the right are windmills on the Mojave side of the Tehachapis. An almost full moon is obscured by clouds to the left of center. The extensive tailings pile in the foreground appears to be two piles due to the mining ruins being the center point of the panorama (see the 360 interactive version below).
This was my first 360 night panorama shoot in the desert. I was able to make 23 panoramas in 8 hours of shooting at this location. The mining ruins are extensive and required a lot of hiking. I’m still processing the results, but I’ve already learned a lot about choosing a good camera position for panoramas. Finding a place to stand where you have an interesting subject in all directions is really challenging. A 12mm circular fisheye lens on a full frame camera is extremely wide compared to my favorite wide angle focal lengths of 18mm, 21mm, and 24mm.
Mare Island Arden Park Gazebo 360 Night Panorama — by Joe Reifer
Mare Island Power Plant 360 Night Panorama — by Joe Reifer
I’ve been experimenting with the different 360 panorama output options in Pano2VR, and created this gallery of little planet panoramas of some of the night panos I shot last week on Mare Island. A 360 interactive is like standing inside a sphere that contains the image. A little planet panorama is a view of that sphere from space. Sometimes called polar panoramas, this type of panoramic projection can also be created in Photoshop by rotating your pano 180 degrees so it’s upside down, and then choosing: Filter – Distort – Polar Coordinates.
360 pano under the trees at the Mare Island cemetery
360 pano from the top of the Mare Island cemetery
During Saturday night’s Nocturnes alumni event on Mare Island, I did a series of 360 degree night panoramas using a Nodal Ninja R1 pano head and the new no hood version of the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens on a Canon 5D Mark II. This setup only requires 4 shots around to make a complete spherical 360 degree panorama. While I was shooting there were kids running through the graveyard with flashlights and glow sticks, people dressed up in costume, and a group of ghost hunters who were trying to communicate with the dead.
Access to this previously off-limits area is now possible by visiting the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve on Friday, Saturday or Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. The Preserve happened to be open until 10 p.m. for a Halloween party, and we were able to photograph in the cemetery after dark. Visiting the Preserve will also give you a glimpse of the buildings along the shoreline, but this area is fenced until further cleanup happens.
Stay tuned for more 360 night panoramas of historic Mare Island!