Thursday, June 18, 2015

Panorama Extravaganza

In my outings and explorations, I often find myself drawn to taking pictures with an eye to stitching them together into a panorama after getting home. I don't know why; I never really set out with the intention of making one, the muse just comes sometimes. The problem is that after spending time carefully hand-stitching the resulting panorama together and admiring the result they go off to live on my hard drive because it's hard to find a good way to show an image that's much wider than it is tall.

Last year I realized that with my dual-monitor setup I actually have a pretty good way to display some of my panoramas: as wallpaper for my 3,840-by-1,200 desktop. I created a wallpaper from some pictures of Polulū Valley which has adorned my desktop until today. However, I didn't get around to making more wallpapers from my old panoramas until today when I went through and created a few more from those that would stand it, then took pictures of them so I can show them off.

My Pololū Valley wallpaper.
Some panoramas just didn't work, being much too wide (although I just realized I could probably cut those into pieces and make wallpapers from them). None of them fit perfectly, of course, and all required a little cropping, but I found another four that were close enough in aspect ratio to make work with minimal cropping.

A lovely view from Laupāhoehoe Point. I love the dynamism of the waves coming in and the poignantly deep sapphire blue of the ocean.

A beautiful sunset from Pu‘u Kalepeamoa, near Hale Pōhaku, with Mauna Loa (left) and Hualalai (just visible through the clouds right of the sun).

A tranquil vista of Lake Waiau (minus the northernmost bit). This is the wallpaper I have right now, as it's just so...irenic. Idyllic, even.

I was a bit surprised to find that some of my older panoramas were actually too small to be made a proper wallpaper at this resolution, as they were too short either vertically or horizontally. I used to take photos with smaller resolutions back before I had a terabyte of hard drive space to store them on, and it definitely shows (my lovely Crater Lake panorama wasn't wide enough to cover both screens). I was equally surprised to find one of my oldest panoramas was big enough to use:

This panorama, from sometime early 2008, is a not-particularly clear shot of the lower tall of Tall El-Hammam, an archaeological site in Jordan north-east of the Dead Sea that I had the pleasure of excavating at for parts of two seasons in 2007 and 2008. It's beyond doubt the site of Sodom from the Early Bronze through Middle Bronze periods, then several other cities through Iron, Roman, and (I think) even Byzantine periods (it may be the site of the Roman-period city Livias, mentioned in texts, but whose location was otherwise unknown). As you can see, the soil in the plain of the Jordan down in the Dead Sea Valley is quite fertile and the lower tall had a lot of crops being grown on it at that time. I know they've excavating quite a lot in the lower tall in the years since I went so I don't know what it looks like now, though I hear this coming season (next January) they'll be going back to the upper tall where I dug and where this panorama was taken from.

It's so nice to finally have a place to show off my panoramas rather than letting them languish on my hard drive, and I hope you enjoyed seeing so many in one post. A hui hou!

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