Before we left the Pitons, I was determined to take a 360 panorama. I decided the water was calm enough to attempt the 360 from the deck of Tahina. The setup involves a tripod, an SLR camera with a fisheye lens, a special adapter ring, and a special tripod mount designed to allow turning the camera to several positions.
The adapter ring holds the camera at a very specific nodal point (at the focus point of light in the lens). This way as the camera turns the pictures are all taken from the center of the “sphere” the 360 panorama is created from. We got this adapter and the tripod mount from our partner Nodal Ninja. To give plenty of overlap to the pictures, so stitching is easier for the software, I take 8 photos. Six are taken at every 60 degrees with the camera in portrait orientation. Then a shot straight up, and a shot straight down.
It took two or three tries for me to get the shot the way I wanted. Clouds were going by and I wanted the lighting to be right. Plus, I was trying to take the shots quickly to reduce the effects as Tahina rotated slightly on the mooring. Finally, I was confident I had a good set, so I put away the equipment and went inside.
I’ll describe more about the processing below, but here is the resulting view of The Pitons from Tahina. Rotate around and notice the amazing view of both these magnificent mountains on the edge of St. Lucia. You can see why this is a popular place to visit by boat can’t you? And check out what the view from Tahina’s bow is like. It’s just like you are standing there. You can look up and see the height of her mast and the breadth of her beam. The view is beautiful isn’t it?
We had good WIFI at this mooring, so I decided to attempt to process the photo right away. I first used software to remove chromatic aberration, adjust the exposure, and convert the photos to TIFF format from the RAW format used when taking the photos. Then I used PTGui Pro to do the stitching. I was lucky as I only had to do a few custom control points to aid the stitching process, and then slightly adjust the rotation to get the resulting shot’s landscape level. PTGui Pro did the rest and I soon had a surprisingly good panorama. I quickly uploaded the result to 360Cities.net.
Next we prepared to leave The Pitons to head back to Rodney Bay on the northwest side of the island. Catherine and Karen planned to go to the rain-forest and the bus picks up at Rodney Bay Marina.