The Signal Room: 360 Panoramas of an Underground Art Space on Yerba Buena Island

A  360 panorama of The Signal Room  on San Francisco's Yerba Buena Island

A 360 panorama of The Signal Room on San Francisco's Yerba Buena Island

Back in February I heard that a group of artists was throwing underground events in The Signal Room -- an old naval signal tower on top of San Francisco's Yerba Buena Island. A friend knew the way in, and we spent an evening watching the sunset and taking photos. I've never met Eugene Ashton-Gonzalez, who was the ringleader behind these efforts. I really appreciate the magical transformation of this unique space with amazing views. Being able to turn around and see both spans of the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, and the Golden Gate off in the distance was fantastic.

I shot some 360 panoramas to remember how the place looked. The San Francisco Chronicle did a short documentary video on the space that's worth watching. There are no longer events taking place at The Signal Room. The tower now has security, and is slated for demolition this summer.

Update: The Signal Room was knocked down in early July.

Technical Details: Each of the 3 panoramas is composed of 6 shots around and 1 shot down using a Nikon D750 with a Samyang 12mm fisheye lens. I used a Nodal Ninja R1 panoramic head on a Sirui N-2204X carbon tripod. Bracketing at 2.0 stop intervals, 5 shots were taken at each camera position. The resulting images were processed in Lightroom, blended in Photomatix Pro, stitched in PTGui Pro, and output using krpano. Enjoy the panoramas!

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The Racers Line: FR-S and BRZ in Almost Every Color

A  360 panorama  of The Racers Line featuring almost all of the colors of the FR-S and BRZ.

A 360 panorama of The Racers Line featuring almost all of the colors of the FR-S and BRZ.

The Racers Line is an performance auto parts and installation shop in Concord, California. Owned and operated by top notch mechanic Neal Wiebmer, The Racers Line specializes in the FR-S/BRZ/GT-86 platform, but also works on other performance cars including BMW, Porsche, and Lotus.

Neal has put in a lot of track days in a Scion FR-S, and really knows the FT-86 platform inside and out. Whether you're looking to add more power with a Jackson Racing or Edelbrock supercharger, or want to get your suspension dialed in for an HPDE session, Neal is the man.

The best part about having work done at The Racers Line is that you can make an appointment and hang out while the work gets done on your car. I always learn something, and leave with new ideas for future upgrades.

Neal wanted some new photos for The Racers Line website, Facebook, and Instagram. He asked a group of customers with different colored FR-S and BRZ to show up, and I took some photos. Thanks to Neal for herding the 86s, and to Paul for the great behind the scenes photos.

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Point Reyes Shipwreck 360 Panorama

Point Reyes shipwreck in Inverness - click the image for an interactive view

Point Reyes shipwreck in Inverness - click the image for an interactive view

Earlier this month I took a drive out to West Marin. I stopped at the famous Point Reyes shipwreck in Inverness to eat lunch. I also wanted to test a new 360 pole panorama setup with the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm fisheye lens. For under $500, this full frame compatible lens is sharp from corner to corner, and comes in Canon and Nikon mounts.

Panoramic photographer Thomas Bredenfeld recommended shooting the 12mm fisheye in a slanted position on the Nodal Ninja R1. By rotating the lens about 33º in the mount you get more vertical coverage, and a zenith shot is not necessary. The shipwreck panorama above was taken on a 10 foot Nodal Ninja carbon fiber pole. Shooting 6 around worked perfectly, and I also took an extra offset shot to remove my shadow.

During the time I was hanging out at the shipwreck, a constant stream of people stopped by to see the old boat and take pictures. Everyone from locals to tourists, from hipsters to families.

I wasn't planning on posting this panorama because the light isn't particularly spectacular. But I just learned that some careless night photographers were light painting with steel wool, and burned the ship earlier this week. Shoot 'em while you got 'em, folks. And enjoy the shipwreck 360 panorama.

 

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360 Night Panorama of Roy's Motel Cafe, Amboy, California

The famous Roy's Motel Cafe is on a lonely stretch of Route 66 in the Eastern Mojave Desert. Restoration work has been in progress since Albert Okura bought the town of Amboy in 2005. Currently, you can buy gas and beverages here. The famous Googie/mid-century modern sign has been photographed a lot over the years. Stand underneath the Roy's sign on a full moon in this 360 night panorama

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360 Panorama of Madonna Inn Room 143: Rock Bottom

The bathroom in Madonna Inn Room 143: Rock Bottom features stones on every surface and a rock waterfall shower.

The bathroom in Madonna Inn Room 143: Rock Bottom features stones on every surface and a rock waterfall shower.

Room #143 at the Madonna Inn is called Rock Bottom, and features rocks on the ceiling, walls, and floor. What a surreal experience. And the Flintstones never had this much luxury - the bathroom in Rock Bottom features a waterfall shower. Step inside this amazing room in the 360 panorama of Rock Bottom. You can also see 360 panoramas of 3 additional rooms.

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Toy Camera Photos and 360 Night Panoramas from the Archives

This blog has been around since 2006. When I transitioned my website to Squarespace last year, I pulled a bunch of older content down for review. A lot of the photography news related posts were ephemeral, but they featured some fun toy camera photos. Thanks to a few rainy days, I've restored some of these posts with the photos only. Enjoy a bunch of Holga, sprocket Holga, Lensbaby, and pinhole photos in the newly refreshed Toy Cameras category.

I also updated and restored four 360 night panoramas. These images benefited greatly from using newer software for RAW processing, stitching, and presentation. Click on any of the panos for a virtual tour.

Dumbarton Railroad Swing Bridge

Dumbarton Railroad Swing Bridge

Mare Island Warehouse Fire

Mare Island Warehouse Fire

Virginia & Truckee Railroad

Virginia & Truckee Railroad

Desert Center Gas Station

Desert Center Gas Station

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Big M Automotive: Workshop 360 Night Panorama

This 360 night panorama was shot during last weekend's night photography workshop at Big M Automotive. The Big M specializes in restoring 50's and 60's Plymouths and Mercurys. The black 1956 Plymouth convertible was recently restored and driven from California to Pennsylvania and back. The car won a restoration award last Sunday at the Arbuckle Car Show.

I believe the Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible is a 1962, please correct me if I'm wrong. The owner's beautiful red 1957 Fury, and a really nice white Imperial were parked outside the workshop. Big thanks to John for the hospitality.

Technical details: The 360 pano was photographed with a Canon EOS 6D and the 8-15mm fisheye lens at 12mm. This requires 4 shots around and one down (nadir). I bracketed 7 shots at each camera position, 1.5 stops apart.

The 35 images were processed in Lightroom, blended in Photomatix, stitched in PTGui, adjusted in Photoshop, and output using krpano. Aligning the verticals in PTGui proved to be tricky, as the barn's sliding door was at an angle.

Here's a view of the barn from right outside the door.

This image was shot with a Fuji X100s. The low light performance of the Fuji sensor is pretty incredible. No noise reduction was required at all for a clean file. Six shots were taken a stop apart, and processed into a 32-bit HDR TIFF using Lightroom.

Below is a group photo of the 7 lucky photographers who attended the night photography workshop. Thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm. More night photography from the Big M coming soon!

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