Leica D-Lux 3: Late Afternoon Shadows - Rice University & a Gigapan of Bath
Thanks for your comments and I appreciate your interest in asking the questions too.
When I first read about GigaPan, I became very interested: Do a google search for: nytimes novelties gigapan and you will see the link.
I searched and found the free GigaPan Stitcher software and took a few hand-held shots using my Nikon DSLR and a Nikkor 70-200mm lens and u/l the panoramas to gigapan.org and was pleased with the results. I emailed a few people who were using the Gigapan robot and became even more interested in potential possibilities if I were to be able to secure a beta robot. So, I found where I could apply and filled out an application, and waited and even waited longer and sent a few emails here and there in order to expedite delivery. Everyday, during these periods of waiting, I would go to gigapan.org to see the latest Gigapans and each day, my interest became more intense.
Finally, it arrived and after about a day or so, I took my first GigaPan and I must honestly say that looking back on all my previous photography experience, it all pales in comparison with what I am doing now.
The Gigapan Stitcher is designed to present the image on a curved surface in Google Earth; when you see a GigaPan in gigapan.org, it is a flat image.
The Google Earth panoramas can be astonishing: Ron Schott, a Geology Professor in Kansas has a large number (as I write this, I see that he has 250) of Gigapans ( http://gigapan.org/viewProfile.php?userid=1252 ), and one of his that I point out to people that have asked me the same sort of questions as what you have asked, is http://gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=6095 . Every time this happens, people then tell me that they have never seen anything like this, and I reply, “If you take the time and effort to see it in Google Earth, you will really be amazed.” One lady, became very excited when she saw http://gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=11906 because it reminded her so much of where she use to live when she was a kid, and now, she too looks at gigapan.org everyday and she looks at the Gigapans in Google Earth, and had even bought a new computer to do so ☺ The ability to zoom into the scene and look around and discover is awesome.
When you look at Ron’s Gigapan’s or mine, in the tag line, there is a number like 16x8, which means that the GigaPan is comprised of, for this example, 16 columns of photos across and 8 rows down. This collection is placed into the GigaPan Stitcher and run and the process can take hours depending on the size.
If you go to youtube.com and search for gigapan, you will find 4 tutorials, which are most interesting: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gigapan&search_type=&aq=f and I see that Jay Leno even has a Gigapan video too While you are there, you will see more videos about Gigapanning and they are all interesting.
Returning to the Google Earth concept one more time: One of the more amazing GigaPans to be seen in Google Earth is “ Pedals de Foc,” taken by Altillu: http://gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=11600 . You may ask what is so special about a mountain in the background with a bicycle in the foreground? Please, click on the link to view in Google Earth and as you move or scroll away from the scene, observe how the corners of the mountain slope in the Gigapan, touch the corners of the Google Earth mountain… a perfect alignment!
Jim (and everyone else reading this), all the time you have been looking at photos on dpreview and other photo sites, I daresay that you have never seen anything the likes of what Ella Derbyshire have taken panoramas of: http://gigapan.org/viewProfile.php?userid=1840 . Her job is that of some sort of a scientist or support staff for extreme weather experimentation. Her travels have taken her from the Artic to Antarctica and points in between. I am amazed at seeing these panos, or I should say, the entire collection of panoramas that she has taken. There is great historical content in all of what you may see in her collection and her explanations are very well written and most informative.
In one of your comments, you mention, “the printed image”: If you look at http://geolocator.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=13182 , you will see that there is indeed a Gigapan print(s): this one is focused on promoting the GigaPan as an educational tool (in conjunction with UNESCO) and if you look closely, you will see support logos from NASA and Carnegie Mellon University ( http://geolocator.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=13182&snapshot_id=36574 ). And if you look at http://gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=12532 , you will see the printed GigaPan in a gallery setting and finally, http://gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=3722 , a beautiful printed GigaPan in a person’s home.
I want to bring attention to the following GigaPanographer, kilgore661, who took the following: http://gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=13019 , a Sweet Shop in Bath. After looking at it and zooming in on the bottles, tell me if it does not bring back numerous memories of a long-past chilhood. It is an extraordinary Gigapan… and he gives well deserved recognition to an Iranian GigaPanographer, Payam Rahmani who took: http://www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=9577 , a view inside of a store in Iran. Payam also created a Gigapan of flowers: http://www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=9010 , which is most unusual, so muc so, that this work is honored and can be seen again everytime one opens gigapan.kml. via the home page “Browse Panoramas in Google Earth,” and gigapan.kml will then be d/l and when opened, the flowers will be seen.
So, to conclude, when you ask me what I get out of the GigaPan experience, my specific answer would be different than what all the GigaPanographers around the world would answer in reply except for one and that is of unending appreciation for the product and all the entertaiment and excitement that comes from taking GigaPans.
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