Category Archives: Travel Photography

WRLD: Oil fields, comics, curmudgeons, Kaurismaki, Pynchon, tanks, and ALTO!

San Ardo oil fields on Highway 101 -- by Joe Reifer

San Ardo oil fields on Highway 101 — by Joe Reifer

Watching, Reading, Listening, Doing (WRLD) is an experiment in paring down artistic input/output into quick summaries to refer back to. Disparate inputs help create interesting output. Let’s see what’s been in the blender lately.

San Ardo oil field gigapan: The image above is composed of 2 rows of 7 images, with 2 bracketed shots at each camera position. The iPhone app PanoCalc was useful in figuring out the number of photos to shoot. The images were stitched in PTGui Pro using a Mercator projection. The final image is 10,000 x 8,000 (80 megapixels). Below is a zoomable version created using Pano2VR.


Charles Burns - The HiveCharles Burns continues to amaze me with his unique vision in the 2nd installment of his darkly original, narrative-shifting trilogy – The Hive. Highly recommended.
ASMP Guide to New Markets in PhotographyThe ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography was worth reading for the 50 concise photographer biographies. Judy Herrmann’s values analysis exercises are also quite good. The remaining material is a high level overview of changes in the photography industry, but the advice is rather general. Worth checking out from the library for photographers of all levels. May be of particular interest to photography students who don’t already understand the industry.
Occam's RazorIf you enjoyed David Hurn and Bill Jay’s On Being a Photographer, you might try tracking down Occam’s Razor. What was true about the art world 20 years ago is even more true today. The photography world needs an articulate curmudgeon like Bill Jay to stay honest. I wish the photo blog world had half of his wit and insight.


Le HavreAki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre blew me away. A bohemian shoe shine man protects an African refugee from being deported. Those of you familiar with Kaurismaki’s long history of dour films will be surprised how uplifting Le Havre is. And the cinematography is fantastic. Highly recommended.

Thomas Pynchon documentaryI really enjoyed this Thomas Pynchon documentary with music by The Residents. The film is a goofy speculation about Pynchon’s choice to remain out of the public eye. Word on the street is that a new Pynchon novel called Bleeding Edge may be released this year.

Cul De SacAnother excellent holiday gift (thanks ss!) was Cul De Sac. In 1995, a 35 year-old plumber and ex-soldier from suburban San Diego dug an 18 foot hole in his back yard looking for gold. Apparently meth was involved. He ended up stealing a tank from the National Guard and went on a rampage crushing cars before the police opened the tank and shot him. A really interesting meditation on the decline of the post WWII 50′s suburban dream.


Alto! ALTO! is a three piece band from Portland, Oregon with Derek Monypeny on guitar, and Steven T. Stone / Kyle Reid Emory on drums /electronics. Somewhere between krautrock, outrock, progrock, and experimental. Listen to side one of the album on ALTO!’s Bandcamp page, download a track for free, or name your price to buy the whole album.

360 Panorama of Misty Rock: Room 191 at the Madonna Inn

Little Planet Panorama of the room Misty Rock at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo California by Joe Reifer

Little Planet panorama of the room Misty Rock at the Madonna Inn — by Joe Reifer

A little planet panorama shows the interior of the room called Misty Rock, which is room 191 at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California. A 360º interactive version of the image is below. The room has a secluded, cave type feel and includes a rock shower with a waterfall.

The image is composed of a bracketed series of 3 exposures at each of 7 camera positions. The photos were stitched in PTGui Pro, and Exposure Fusion was used to blend the images. The interactive version of the pano was created using Pano2VR. The final resolution is 14,000 x 7,000 pixels (98 megapixels). Click on the image below to explore the 360 degree pano.
360 panorama of the Misty Rock room at the Madonna Inn

New York Diptych Trip Diary

Wandering the Dirt and Shooting Out the Window

Virginia City Cemetery Sunset 360 Panorama

Virginia City Cemetery Sunset 360 Panorama -- by Joe Reifer

Virginia City Cemetery Sunset 360 Panorama — by Joe Reifer

The historic Virginia City cemetery is located on a hill just on the north side of town, and features graves dating back to the 1860′s. A wide variety of religious and fraternal organizations have separate burial plots in this area.

This sunset photo was an experiment in HDR 360º panoramas while waiting for the moon to rise. Using a 10mm fisheye on a Canon 60D requires 6-shots around plus a zenith (up shot). Three images were taken at each setting, 2 stops apart. I was able to shoot the 18 images in just over 2 minutes. By the time I was ready to make the zenith for the 360, the color had disappeared from the sky and the clouds had moved quite a bit. For bracketed panoramas with fast moving clouds and fading light, a 4-shot around panorama with a 12mm fisheye on a full frame camera would be a better option because a zenith shot is not necessary.

I’ve been favoring 6 around + a zenith and nadir because the resolution is higher. Using the 60D, the final resolution is about 15,000×7,500 pixels. A 4-shot panorama on the 5D Mark II is 10,000×5,000. Sometimes the resolution tradeoff is worth it to get the shot. Unfortunately the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye is best at the 10-12mm end on a crop sensor camera. I may need to consider the Canon 8-15mm fisheye for the best quality 360′s on full frame. But enough about 360 pano techniques — why not stand in the cemetery and enjoy the view in the interactive version.