360-degree photography, interactive panoramas and virtual tours are still a relatively new technology in the publishing world, certainly compared to traditional stills photography and motion video. However, like all new technologies, 360-degree imagery opens up exciting new opportunities for creative interpretation and use.
As a multi-media content creator, I always like to try and embrace all genres of art. Sometimes it’s advantageous to combine different types of imagery to convey a fresh message in a thought-provoking and ‘neoteric’ style. Traditional stills photography and video obviously have their uses, but they also have their limitations.
Whilst I enjoy shooting traditional environmental portraiture and character studies, I also like to push the boundaries of my creative work and combine my skills to produce something a little different and thought provoking. In this respect, I’ve put together a couple of examples of image sets that include stills photos as well as interactive panoramas. Like all types of imagery, these are best viewed on big desktop monitors. You will see the resolution and quality that a fully manual approach to shooting 360-imagery (with a high megapixel DSLR and ‘pano’ head), far outweighs the quality of automated 360 cameras. As with all things in life, if you want the best solution for your campaign, you really shouldn’t be cutting corners.
Russell Stowe – The Luthier
It saddens me to see that many of our traditional craft processes and their associated skills are being replaced by cheap, soulless automation. The craftsmen, who once flourished throughout industry, are slowly fading away and the photo opportunities that these ‘heroes’ once gave photographers are becoming few and far between. It therefore comes as a refreshing change to see one traditional craftsman who still embraces old techniques and runs a whimsical violin shop in Woodbridge, Suffolk.
Russell Stowe is the luthier at Woodbridge Violins and he has been restoring and repairing stringed musical instruments for over twenty-five years. His shop is a treasure trove of photographic opportunities, and it reminded me of Geppetto’s workshop in the old, Italian story of Pinocchio. I had the pleasure of shooting these images for the somewhat forward thinking regional tourist board at Visit Suffolk. They wanted a unique set of creative images that would represent the location in a way that it had never been done before. Here’s a small selection of my favourites, along with a 360-degree interactive portrait. I wanted to create the almost surreal look and feel of a fairy tale, so I chose to tone map the 360-degree HDR image accordingly. I also made a rather special audio recording of him playing Bach’s Partita for violin. I hope it encapsulates the atmosphere and ambience of this curious and unusual location.
The above 360 interactive panorama is an ultra-high resolution, 24k image with 288 megapixels, so don’t forget to zoom in to see the detail, and double click image to toggle fullscreen view.
The images below are some of the stills images that I also took on the shoot with Russell. I used shallow depth of field to give the images a dreamy look. The client was delighted with the whole image set and the promotional campaign was not only distinctive, but also very successful.
Craig Marshall – Junk Artist.
Whilst driving through some of the back roads around Lone Pine (famous for many a Hollywood Western movie), I stumbled across the remote village of Keeler in California. Keeler is like a live on movie set. I’ve never experienced any place quite like it. It has a population of just 66 (as of the 2020 consensus), and everywhere you turn there is a unique image to be made.
Whilst ambling around the empty streets, I came across a wooden shack. It was a living work of junk art and created by the resident artist Craig Marshall. Craig is a real quirky character. He told me he had met Brad Pitt a few years before and that he had inspired the character Early Grayce in the movie ‘Kalifornia’ (if you’ve never watched it do). Craig was one cool dude. I really wasn’t sure how he would react to having his photograph taken. His ‘Hells Angels’ motorcycle and huge pet Rottweiler and was a little disconcerting, and when I first approached him I was a little concerned I may be eaten alive. Luckily, I think the dog just had a steak breakfast, so thankfully I wasn’t on the menu. Sadly the dog had a will of his own and refused to sit in my photo and I certainly didn’t want to argue with him (it wsn’tlong unmtil lunch). I made the decision to leave him alaone, live to see another day and just shoot. This 360-degree interactive portrait captures the atmosphere of location in a way that traditional imagery simply cannot.
Below are some of the traditional stills images i also took around Keeler. The images have been used in books, travel magazines, websites, exhibitions and as framed art prints for wall hanging.
You can also take a ride on the full Redneck Road Trip virtual tour here.