Sunday, April 24, 2011

25 Awesome VR Photography

A VR (Virtual Reality) photograph, known as a VR panorama, is a panoramic image encompassing a 360-degree angle. VR photography makes it possible to represent a 360-degree view of the real world in a two-dimensional, flat photograph.

This technique is not particularly difficult to practise. At its simplest, it involves taking photos while rotating around a central point and then laying the resultant images side-by-side. At its more complex, expensive camera equipment is required, as is specialist software to carefully stitch images together.

VR photography is not only capable of restructuring ordinary scenes, making them extraordinary; it empowers the viewer by placing them right at the centre of a vast landscape. We've selected 25 incredible VR photographs for your viewing pleasure.

1. Stapeliad Habitat
A panoramic view of the Succulent Rock Garden at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in South Africa, taken by Martin Heigan, who takes care of the Stapeliad collection there. Just in case you don't know what a Stapeliad is- it's a low-growing, spineless succulent plant. ' Martin Heigan

2. Rainy Courtyard
The view of the courtyard of an apartment complex is given life and an interesting appeal with the use of panorama photography. ' Wikimedia.org

3. Ground Floor
The burnt-out ground floor of a hospital in Aincourt, France, located a 45-minute drive outside of Paris. 'Vincent Montibus

4. Toyosu
A highly atmospheric image taken at sunset, at Fisherman's Wharf in Toyosu, Tokyo. ' heiwa4126

5. Northumberland Beach
This panoramic image of Northumberland Beach, England, was taken at 7pm on a clear April evening. The panorama was stitched together from 74 pictures, arranged in 3 rows. ' workname

6. Akiba
Captured on a Kodak V705 camera and stitched with Hugin (panorama stitching software), this is a great shot of a deserted Akiba Station in Tokyo, Japan. ' heiwa4126

7. Outside TJ Hughes
A family find themselves at the centre of a virtual world. A small urban centre is re-imagined and reworked. 'workname

8. Thames
This image's strength lies in its subtlety: it's hard to tell that it's been doctored. It shows a 360-degree view of a lock gate on the River Thames. ' workname

9. Glass Shop
VR photography often creates spectacular patterns, as is the case in this photograph of a shopping arcade in Venice, Italy. Here, curving floor tiles reveal the photographic technique used. ' workname

10. Party
What better way to capture the mood of a party than with VR photography? At least you can be sure that nobody's left out of the photos! ' heiwa4126

11. Hylter's Field
VR photography adds a new dimension to this field of maize- a straight path seems to turn at a right angle. Apart from the slight stretching at the bottom of the image, the only giveaway of the VR technique is the sunlight emanating from both sides. ' workname

12. Saint-Michel
Another clear, sunny day, this time at the beach in Saint-Michel, France. This great image was taken with a Pentax K20D digital SLR camera and a 10-17mm fish-eye lens. ' Vincent Montibus

13. Helvellyn
This VR panorama, captured last summer in the Lake District, England, shows many of the area's most distinctive features, including Helvellyn, which is the tallest summit just to the right of centre. ' Wikimedia

14. Kitchen
VR photography does strange things to interior architecture. This kitchen is warped beyond all recognition. A slightly blurred figure reads at a greatly enlarged kitchen table. ' workname

15. Cours Saleya
This shot of deserted cafes in the Cours Saleya, Nice, was taken with a Canon EOS 5D camera, fitted with a Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens, sitting on a Nodal Ninja tripod head. Images were stitched together and edited using Autopano Pro, CubicConverter and Photoshop Lightroom. ' rolandhoffman

16. Balcony With A View
A Nikon D200 and a Nikkor VR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G lens were used to capture this fantastic panorama, which was stitched together from 4 raw images. ' Smaku

17. Car Park
Ugly, perhaps, but fascinating nonetheless, this photo reworks the subterranean environment of a car park. 'lrargerich

18. Monument Escadrille Lafayette
Two sides of an arch of the Monument Escadrille Lafayette are repositioned side by side, creating a mesmerizing arrangement. ' pano philou

19. Antwerpen
If it weren't for VR photography, you'd have to study a whole roll of film's worth of images to absorb in its entirety the expansive Market Square (Grote Markt) in Antwerp, Belgium. ' Thomas Heylen

20. Plaza de Espana, Madrid
Ghostly figures traverse the Plaza de Espaƃ±a, Madrid, Spain. The square's monument to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is clearly visible in the background. ' Rufus Gefangenen

21. Winter
A 360-degree view of a wintry landscape. The frozen and stationary Schelde River, Netherlands, is visible to the left and right. ' garrulous

22. Taxi
Captured in a taxi, north of San Pedro, near Lake Atitlan, southern Guatemala, this VR panorama is highly unusual, as it's handheld. Anybody can recreate this type of image with a decent camera, a fisheye lens and basic stitching software. ' Jan Vrsinsky

23. Ginnie Springs
Ginnie Springs, Florida, USA. Here, the colours of the water, trees and wooden furniture compliment each another perfectly. ' Joe Hesketh

24. Night Scene
The lighting is wonderful in this atmospheric panorama. The 360-degree angle was stitched from six photographs, with an extra one for the sky and one for the ground. ' baldheretic

25. Great Market
You can study this image for hours, there's just so much going on as families and groups of tourists explore the Great Market in Brussels, Belgium. ' Steve and Jemma Copley