The 360-degree view

One thing I’ve enjoyed most about the Expo coverage here at Macworld.com is something that Macworld editors weren’t all that involved in producing. It’s our Expo photo group at Flickr where Expo attendees could post whatever photos of the show they wanted to—and often did. There’s nothing like attending an Expo in person, but if you couldn’t be in San Francisco last week, the 643 (and counting) photos from your fellow Macworld.com readers could at least give you a flavor for what the show was like in a way that mere articles could not.

Besides, we finally got an answer to the question that has dogged mankind since the dawn of time: just how many photos of an iPhone encased in glass can be taken in one week?

The answer: not nearly enough.

As great as the Expo photos at Flickr are—and again, thanks to everyone who contributed—they don’t have the depth, scope, and pure, jaw-dropping detail of 360-degree panoramic shots of the show floor. For that, you should turn to the work of Val T. Hoang and Landis Bennett, a couple of members of IVRPA. That’ the International VR Photography Association, a group for digital photo pros who create interactive, immersive images.

Want to know what it’s like entering Moscone Center’s North Hall? Now you can, without ever setting foot in San Francisco. Or how about the view from Apple’s booth during an iPhone presentation or a demo at the Hewlett-Packard booth ? It’s all there in 360-degree detail.

The work of Hoang and Bennett is hosted at Panoramas.dk, a Web site created by Danish photographer Hans Nyberg, who uses it to promote VR photography. Nyberg got interested in VR photography in 2002—he credits a Macworld news article for piquing his interest—and has since published panoramas on worldwide New Year’s Eve celebrations and the Apollo moon landings. Broadly speaking, VR photographers like Nyberg and his cohorts use a standard digital SLR camera and a fisheye lens for action panoramas; they stitch the images together using PTgui, PTMac, or in some cases, Stitcher. (Nyberg lists reviews and tutorials for panorama-creation software on his site.)

Whether you’re a photographer yourself or just interested in another view of Expo, the panoramas shot at last week’s show are certainly worth a look.

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