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Canon PowerShot S95 with CHDK running.

Hacking a Canon PowerShot for Time Lapse.

After months of reading, there are only a few options for launching a high quality light-weight camera onto a balloon that can take photos every few seconds.  I went with hacking a Canon PowerShot camera with CHDK.  Haven’t floated it up yet, but on the ground it is allowing full manual control of everything and it shoots RAW images.  Perfect for the quality that is needed.  Next step is to use it in the air.  If you want a bit more information on CHDK,  continue reading…

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Self-Portrait Shadow with Balloon Aerial Camera

Balloon Aerial Photography Test 2

This image is about the only good thing to come from this second test of the GoPro Camera hanging in a plastic bag on a 3 foot helium balloon.  I was able to photograph for almost an hour before the balloon just exploded in mid-air and the camera landed at my feet.  The camera was OK, but the 300 recorded images finally confirmed that the GoPro camera is just not going to give me the quality that is needed.  I need a camera with a decent lens, ability to shoot RAW, and can be manually set for all things: color […]

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Balloon Aerial Photography Test 1

First test used a GoPro Camera hanging from a 3 foot helium filled balloon in a plastic bag.  The bag simply cradles the camera aiming down and the lens pokes through a hole in the bag.  This is a simple light-weight and weather-resistant solution.   The GoPro camera was set to time-lapse mode and shooting an image every 5 seconds.  It was raining, the balloon was quite wet and there wasn’t enough helium in the balloon to keep it floating well.   This was done at Penland School where the front knoll is mowed with this crazy random path and […]

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Balloon Test 1 Documentary Penland Aerial Balloon Test 1
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Missing Mercator: Alternative Projections

  Flattening a full 360° spherical image onto a 2D surface involves different projection methods.  The most familiar to us is the “Mercator” projection, developed by Gerardus Mercator in 1569 that has been used for centuries to display the globe on a 2D map.  This image of Earth is typical of this method and is comfortable to us, but it is actually very distorted.  We all know that Antarctica is not 5 times the size of South America.   For various reasons we disregard these particular distortions. Mercator’s projection method makes immediate sense because moving up from any point on the […]

Images from this gallery

Crab Tree Falls Example Spruce Tree Example Earth’s Surface Example of Planet Earth, Hyperbolic Projection
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Quick Overview: Part Two, Stitching a Panorama

Many people ask me how a full 360/180 degree digital panorama is made.  Here is Part Two from my Oak Branch Demo Series that gives a very simple overview of stitching a digital panorama. This demo also quickly covers how the camera and tripod are removed from a final panorama.  Part One is a demo of using a camera and panorama head to shoot this particular panorama.

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Quick Overview: Part One, Shooting a Panorama

Many people ask me how a full 360/180 degree digital panorama is made.  Here is a 3 minute video from my Oak Branch Demo Series that gives a very simple overview of digital panoramas. You can see the process of taking a full 360/180 degree panorama and how the camera and tripod are removed in the final panorama.  Part Two is a quick overview of how this panorama was stitched together.

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