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Not quite worthy of the title "Essays", yet more than just another weblog. Here are some of our thoughts and ramblings on the subject of photography. We hope you find them interesting...

Extreme Wide-angle Photography

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Higger Tor, Derbyshire

We now have some very wide-angle photographs available to view using our special Silverlight panoramic photograph viewer (you may be prompted to download Microsoft Silverlight if you do not already have it installed on your computer). The viewer allows you to zoom in at high resolution and move around the image through the full 360 degrees, optionally using the whole of your screen.

These images are 360 degree panoramic photographs. They are created by digitally combining multiple images. The resulting composite images are typically of the order of 150 megapixels in size (a normal camera takes pictures of about 10 megapixels). This gives a theoretical maximum print size of about ten feet across. The technique can be used to create even larger images given sufficient time and computer processing power

It is possible to capture the full 360 x 180 degree spherical field of view, but this leaves the problem of how to print the resulting image onto a flat surface. Even with a partial vertical field of view, as used in these prints, there is some “stretching” of the details visible at the top and bottom edges of the frame. The image is not actually distorted at these extremes; the effect is solely due to the projection of the spherical image onto a flat surface. Although it is an artefact of the printing process, the effect can result in a striking image if it is not overused.