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World's first stitched panorama of vortex star trails!

To my knowledge, this is the world’s first spherical panorama of star trails in a vortex!!! It has taken several months and many attempts to come up with a method of shooting and stitching it, and I’ve discovered a few things that I can improve on my next attempt. I won’t give away all my secrets yet, but I’ll leave one big hint—there is an advantage to shooting spherical timelapses with a single camera/lens and a Panoneed robotic panning head over an array of several cameras. ;-) The disadvantage is that it takes a lot longer to shoot enough panoramas to create a timelapse and/or star trails. I only had 7.5hrs from astronomic dusk to dawn with consistent darkness to shoot everything for this shot, including the two long exposure panoramas of the Milky Way and the ground that are the base layer for the image. The rest were all short exposures of fewer stars for the trails that are blended on top. Several airplanes overhead and head lamps of us walking by, etc. had to be removed too.

Changing the focal length in steps between panoramas and not during one was a little bit of a challenge to automate, and batch stitching was a nightmare as I never did find a way to automate sliding the camera on the nodal slide, so there is some parallax to contend with for closer objects like the tree branches. Plus I had to gradually change the .xml stitching files and PTGui project files from one focal length to another across hundreds of panoramas to match the true focal length.

Taken September 6, 2013 on the second night of my hiking trip along Maine’s Bold Coast with Chris Georgia, Garrett Evans, Jared Blash, and Mike Taylor.

Technical details: shot with a Really Right Stuff TVC-34L tripod w/ TA-3-LC-HK leveling base & 192 FAS Package nodal slide, Panoneed robotic head, two Promote Controls, Nikon D700 camera, and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens.

A higher resolution sphere can be explored on my website:

Copyright: Aaron Priest
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 10588x5294
Taken: 07/09/2013
Uploaded: 29/05/2014


Tags: atlantic; bold coast; cliff; coast; coastal; coastline; cutler; hiking; maine; milky way; night; ocean; outdoors; panorama; rocks; rocky; sky; spherical; stars; star trails; summer; summer time; summertime; vortex; water; wilderness; out-of-this-world
More About USA

The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.

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