Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Two Feet?
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Shelley made wonderful pesto for dinner on Friday for gaming. Fresh basil's heavenly.

My latest match in the Star Fleet Battles Online tournament took only an hour to wrap up after resuming from last weekend. My opponent got some lucky hits and took me out. I'm letting my subscription to that lapse for a while and don't expect to play again maybe until next spring or summer. Great game, but time-consuming and priority must be given to the pano business.

Speaking of which, on Friday I finally got put in touch with the right people up in Alameda to send a formal request for permission to photograph the ship in order to make a virtual tour on CD-ROM. So I composed and got off what I hope is a good persuasive e-mail letter to them, and maybe we'll know this week whether that project can proceed.

In the meantime, I've been practicing a lot with making panoramas and working on my system for shooting as many as possible with limited battery time. Today, for example, I shot about a dozen nodes around and in the house, and then connected them all in a virtual tour. The shooting took longer than preferred, but, for the most part, the results came out as a fabulous 31mb QuickTime VR file.

Lessons learned: need to make a use a checklist for every pano shot to ensure setting focus, aperture, ISO, and resolution. I'd find myself forgetting to reset one of these almost every time, so had to reshoot a number of the panos after realizing the error. That eats into battery time significantly, and if not caught could result in a systematic error of epic proportion.

Another problem, when outside where the lens can see the sun directly, is lens flare that results in a bright line vertically through the pano. There seems no easy way to remove it, so I'll have to see about a lens hood or blocking the sun with a shade and then editing the shade out of the image (easier than editing out the flare when it goes across objects of importance in the pano).

And then there's the problem of hiding the tripod. Most people either leave it in and put a logo over it, or take a still photo of the area where it sat and then edit that into the pano. Logos are easy, but somewhat distracting from reality.

Compositing a still into the pano has proven impossible for me so far, because of having to match it up with rotation, scale, color, hue, brightness, etc., and deal with the fact that my digital camera barely covers the area where the tripod sat.

If you're still reading at this point, do you think it would be more interesting to put feet into the pano instead of a logo to cover the tripod? Panos floating in space aren't that "realistic" anyway. When you look down in real life, you see your feet. I could digitally use someone's real feet in each pano, or have some kind of graphic feet, humorous or otherwise, instead.

The feet could either float on the pano so that they always point forward (simulating a person turn in body to a new facing), or could rotate with the pano so that they twist around (simulating a person turning just the head -- but allowing the head to go around and around).

I could put up examples to make these ideas clearer if you want. I have never seen any panos that use feet to hide the tripod (and believe me, I've looked at a LOT of panos) so it would be a unique solution AFAIK.

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