Scotland360° - Interactive 360° photography

360° Panoramic photography is addictive. It's technically challenging, relies heavily on the use of technology and requires specialised hardware and software. It's a massive thief of time - but it's hugely rewarding.

This portfolio tells the story of the development of my own 360° photography. Examples range from high resolution images captured with a DSLR, through drones and to "one shot" cameras capable of both stills and video.

It's been a fascinating journey and a steep learning curve both in understanding the technicalities of hardware and software. But the challenges have been part of the fun, particularly with the development of Virtual Tours.

My collection of 360° cameras and kit has evolved to meet my own needs and gives me the range of flexibility I need for the photography I specialise in. With the ability to capture panoramic photos on land, at sea and in the air, both above ground and in the water, I have a range of capability consistent with my photographic objectives.

Digital SLR 360°

A'Chailleach Mountain Panorama

Digital SLR cameras undoubtedly provide the highest resolution photography. Setting up the camera on the panoramic head and the the head to the tripod takes time. Capturing 120 bracketed exposures takes time.

Cloud movement on a windy day is one of the big challenges. However the benefits of detail, control of exposure and final resolution are hard to beat.

The panorama above is one of my early panoramas taken in 2009 on the summit of A'Chailleach in the Fannich hills.

Explore A'Chailleach Summit

Drones & UAV 360°

Isle of Scalpay Aerial panorama

Drones, or UAVs are a relatively new dimension of 360° panoramic photography. They provide completely unique perspectives on familiar views and the level of detail is increasing with each new generation of drones.

Perfecting 360° aerial panoramas has been a journey of discovery. Metering and exposure behave slightly differently I have to capture the sky as a separate exercise.

The island of Scalpay near to Tarbert in Harris features above. How much detail can you see as you look around the view?

See Scalpay from the air

Twin Lens 1-shot 360°

Balranald Glamping Pod - North Uist

Balranald Hebridean Holidays campsite is a family run business on the west coast of North Uist in a beautiful setting, with excellent facilities and provides a great base from which to explore the Uists.

Talking to Anne the owner of the campsite, I offered to take some photographs of the Pod, for advertising, using a one shot camera, ideal for capturing small spaces in 360°.

If you're in North Uist and would like to experience the Corncrake Glamping Pod at Balranald, this is what it looks like inside.

Balranald Glamping Pod

Whilst my main focus was originally on stills photography, I also enjoy a developing interest in interactive 360° video. Sea kayaking is a superb platform for the use of video as demonstrated by the short video clip below.

Punching through the wave

A sea kayaking trip along the Moray Coast and to the Bow Fiddle Rock included a stop for lunch on Cullen Beach.

Setting off from the beach, the sea was beautifully calm except for one solitary wave heading in to the shore.

Too good an opportunity to miss, the 360° camera was switched on as I set myself up to paddle out to meet the wave.... I have slowed down the moment of breaking through the wave. Pan around and enjoy the action in full 360° viewing. This is a high resolution video which you can pan and zoom on screen.

The images below will take you on a tour to many different parts of Scotland and the viewpoints range from low on the ground to high in the air. The video clips will allow you to become fully immersed in the action.

The compilation is a mixture of high and low resolution. Some of the work has been extremely experimental as I’ve been developing ideas. Where appropriate I have also added in links to Virtual Tours, Blogs and other links of interest.

Aerial Panorama - Mount Eagle on the Black Isle

Mount Eagle Aerial Panorama, Black Isle

A 360° aerial panorama captured at Mounteagle on the Black Isle.

This is another aerial panorama captured using a DJI Phantom 1 drone and the Go Pro camera mounted on a gimbal. It's one of the series of aerial panoramas on the Black Isle.

Aerial Panorama - Culbokie Football Pitch

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A 360° aerial panorama from the football pitch in Culbokie on the Black Isle. Looking north, Ben Wyvis has a covering of snow and Fyrish and Strathrory can be seen across the Cromarty Firth.

Aerial Panorama - Mount Eagle, Black Isle

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The last stages in the successful development of 360° aerial panoramas and an aerial perspective of the young woodland near to the Mount Eagle mast on the Black Isle.

The two 360° aerial panoramas above are my first successful productions using a drone. The drone itself was an original DJI Phantom 1 which, compared to the sophistication of drones today, was a very basic model. There was no direct feed from the aircraft camera and so there was a total reliance on line of sight. In fact, there wasn't even a camera attached to the drone and this was an added extra with a home made gimbal and a cage for a GoPro camera. Adding in the gimbal and the camera then reduced the flight time by almost half, to a mere 7 minutes! The capture of aerial panoramas therefore had to be very well organised.

Mountain Panorama - A'Chailleach in the Fannich Hills

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The two 360° mountain panoramas above are of A'Chailleach, one of the Fannich hills. Both views show the 360° view from the summit, but with the second view annotated with the names of surrounding hills.

Clicking on either image will take you on a virtual tour of the views from the summit. The tour opens with the view showing the names of the hills and if you find the hotspot near to the base of the cairn, you can toggle between each of the views.

The images of A'Chailleach are part of a more comprehensive Virtual Tour of the Fannich mountains. Launch the tour, explore the views from the summits and find the hotspots to neighbouring mountain tops.

The day out on A'Chailleach was rewarding both for the photography and also for just being a great day out in the hills. The background and the full collection of photographs are written up in the Blog.

Fyrish Monument and the gates of Negapatam

Beinn Dearg

Fyrish Monument was built in 1782 on the orders of Sir Hector Munro, the local laird who had also been commander of British Forces in India. General Munro had led the defeat of the Dutch at the Battle of Negapatam but on his return to the Highlands, he found that the Clearances were underway and local people were starving.

Munro provided famine relief in return for work and the construction of the monument was one of the tasks given to the local destitute.

Fyrish Monument sits on the summit of Fyrish Hill, a replica of the gates of Negapatam, to enhance Munro's glory.

I have compiled an interactive tour at the top of Fyrish with a number of photographs and views across the Cromarty Firth and towards the Black Isle.

Mountain Panorama - An introduction to 360° Mountain Photography

Beinn Dearg

At 1084m high, Beinn Dearg, near Ullapool is one of the highest hills in the local area. Approached from Inverlael and then up Gleann na Squaib, the walk into this hill provides superb views onto the northern crags of Beinn Dearg.

The button below allows 360 viewing of Beinn Dearg and, in certain mobile browsers, an interactive, immersive Web VR experience.

The interactive panorama above was a test piece for BBC Scotland. I had been commissioned to provide a series of interactive mountain panoramas and was scoping out the requirements of the commission. 360° Panoramic photography has advanced considerably since 2009 and this particular project was possibly ahead of its time. It did however allow for some invaluable developments for panoramic photography.

With great views on the way up the hill, the low cloud lingering just above the summit didn't allow for the otherwise spectacular views to be shown at their best. There's always another day though when it comes to the Scottish hills...

Some 10 years later, I've created my own Virtual Tour of the local hills with interaction, information and images. Find the links to neighbouring hills and explore the view from nearby summits. And if you would like to see nearby summits named, then find and click on the links at the base of some of the cairns.

To see more of my interactive Panoramic photographs, please follow the link buttons below. Go on - immerse yourself....

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