Panoramic Views and Small Format Aerial Photography


Jake Stevenson

A Student Presentation from
Emporia State University
Earth Science Department

This webpage project was created in partial completion for the Small Format Aerial Photography course in May 2005 at Emporia State University. The assignment was to demonstrate Small Format Aerial Photography and its uses and give some insight as to how D Joiner software works.

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The field trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri was a great opportunity to show what Small Format Aerial Photography is capable of. The weather was just about perfect, not much wind, but the slightest overcast. Too much sun and the photos are too bright. The following is a representation of the pictures taken on the field trip and how they can be manipulated, using software program called D-Joiner, into panoramic views. The following picture is the result of this process, it includes 4 pictures merged into 1 image. Image shows views to the south/southeast of Nelson-Atkins overlooking a park.

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The class was involved a field trip to Kansas City whose purpose was to use Small Format Aerial Photography to document the Nelson-Atkins Museum. For this task the class deployed a helium blimp on the south lawn of the museum and attached to it, two camera rigs with different lens attachments for each camera.

Many images were taken using all view angles from vertical to nearly horizontal, as well as with different lenses to achieve desired effects. One such lens is called a fish eye, it is given this name because the images it produces provides a large distorted viewing angle.

After the field trip all pictures were made available for use with D-Joiner and other photo programs. The following images show some of the possible mistakes that can be made along the way to that perfect picture.

First one must decide on what pictures he or she will be using to join. Remember to use pictures that have a common local in them so that you can align them later. Also make sure that the resolution is the same between all the pictures or else D-Joiner will not work.

The following picture shows a line of picture with common points plotted using D-Joiner. The image is a screen capture that has been cropped.

Originally I had planned to use 10 or 11 picture to have a complete 360 degree view of the park and Art Museum but while the images worked well in D-Joiner I was unable to export the composition and preserve a good picture. The reason for this I believe, was due to having trying a 360 degree rotation. When expressed on a flat surface you are unable to show the image without large distortion. As seen below.

The next picture allows you to see other portions of the panorimic view that were later removed in order to achieve a better quality of picture.

Once you are confident with the merger. Export the image as a flat and bring the image into a program which you can change values and rotate the images such as Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop. You'll want to rotate the image so that the horizon is level. You can see that this has been done on the first image of the page. Changing the colors in the image, as well, often helps with the visual appeal of picture. When you are manipulating the images with the program it is useful to erase blemishes caused by the merging of the images. In the first image on the page you can slightly notice the blimp's tether wire located in the center of the image running the height of it. This is one such feature that could be erased and is present due how D-Joiner works.

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There are wonderful things that you can do with Small Format Aerial Photography, and when you combine that process with other exciting techniques such as the panoramic views the possibilities are endless.

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Related Links

Emporia State University Earth Science at ESU
Small Format Aerial Photography Southern Ballon Works
D Joiner Adobe Photoshop
For more information email