During last week’s IVRPA conference in Las Vegas, I arranged an after hours photo tour at the Neon Musem. The museum runs 1 hour guided tours during the day and evening, but no tripods or monopods are allowed. About once a month they have a night shoot that allows tripods. Big thanks to the talented photographer eyetwist, who gave me the lowdown, and to Erin at the museum for the hospitality. We had 7 photographers and 2 videographers in our group, which maxed out the small museum space.
As we only had 1 hour in the boneyard, I shot my 360 panos at 4 shots around, using a Canon EOS 6D with the 8-15mm fisheye lens at 12mm. This sacrifices some resolution for speed, producing images that are just over 10,000×5,000 (50 megapixels). I shot a 3 image bracket at each camera position, with exposures of +/- 1.5 stops.
Many of the amazing old neon signs were lit with bright LED lighting that scrolls through different colors every few seconds. I knew this was going to make both shooting HDR and blending the panoramas a challenge. Surprisingly, Photomatix Fusion didn’t have any problems blending the bracketed images, even though the color and intensity sometimes changed between exposures.
Next, I imported the images into PTGui Pro. Here’s how the pano looked after stitching, but before blending across images.
Las Vegas Neon Museum 360 Degree Night Panorama – Unblended
I tested PTGui, Smartblend, and Photoshop, and the PTGUI blender did the best job feathering the different colored lighting. Adjusting the masking in PTGui helped fine tune the transition areas.
Once I was happy with the results, I used Pano2VR Pro to create the interactive panorama. This pano is my first test using the new HTML5 multiresolution feature. As time permits, I will add a few more panoramas from the Neon Museum and create a virtual tour.
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
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.
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.
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
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
As an experiment, I made an interactive version of Ian’s marquetry gas station piece.
Explore the ghost town of Coaldale, Nevada under a full moon by clicking the image above. The interactive tour features eight 360 degree night panoramas of Coaldale.