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Out of Body Swimming Hole New Caledonia
New Caledonia

The Parc de la Riviere Bleue is an hour drive from Noumea and this iconic swimming hole is a 40 minute drive from the park entrance. There is a short walk of about half a kilometer from where you park your car at the "ancient refuge" picnic area. 

This sphere image was an experiment. I had made a sphere image sphere image here in 2008 but didn't think it really gave a good perspective of the round, clear pool with the little waterfall.

Last Friday I happened to find a 7 meter long telescoping fishing pole in the supermarket. Cost $20 and was made from some kind of rigid fiber-reinforced plastic. I epoxied a 1/4 X 20 screw in the end so I could mount my teeny little GoPro Hero 3 on it. It doubled as a clunky walking stick on the way to the swimming pool and when we got there I screwed on the GoPro mount, turned on the GoPro wireless, and extended the poles. 7 meters is a long way up there. 

At first I thought I might have a problem keeping the pole perfectly vertical but it was so long it had to stay vertical or it got hard to hold upright.

Perfect. I turned on the Hero3 in the one shot every half second mode and then just turned the pole around a couple of times. I turned the camera off then collapsed the pole, adjusted the GoPro to 45 degrees down, slid it back up and started shooting again and made another couple of 360 turns. Then I did the same thing with the GoPro looking 45 degrees up.

I started each shoot with the camera pointed in the same direction, about 90 degrees from the sun glare. In general you need to start the time-lapse sequence looking on the bright side of the image. Otherwise the highlights get washed out to nothing.

The GoPro did OK, and Autopano Giga nailed the 30 images I selected together in a few seconds with hardly a glitch. I compared it to the image I had done at the same pool a few years ago with my monster Canon Mark I. Of course the Mark I full frame Canon got better resolution and nicer color. But the experiment was about the change in perspective - 20 feet above the pool the pool looks rounder and you can see the river above and below the pool. It give a better overall perspective. BUT, it does not have the same feeling as the one taken from eye-height or lower. 

I kind of think spere images, as memory bubbles, need to have something close to the camera, a focal point, something you'd remember more than just the place. Since sphere images look in every direction the composition of the sphere relies on what I think of as a "presence" - a point of awareness - something or someone close to the camera to give a feeling of presence. 

In the aloof view from over three times where my eyes actually were, the pool and the swimmers seem remote. I don't feel involved in the image. It doesn't draw me in and let me emerge again next to that lovely pool in the wilderness of New Caledonia. It's like an out-of-body experience. And memory spheres should focus right down through your eyes into your mind.

Anybody want to buy a 7 meter telescopic pole with a screw in the end?


Copyright: Richard Chesher
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 11474x5737
Taken: 14/09/2013
Uploaded: 16/09/2013


Tags: swimming hole; river; wilderness; trekking; park; parc de la riviere bleue; new caledonia; ancient refuge; girls swimming; gopro; hero 3
More About New Caledonia

New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.

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