Horizon Imaging was recently commissioned to take a set of panoramic aerial photographs to simulate the views from a proposed new house in St George's Hill in Weybridge, Surrey. 
 
As the required photographs had to be taken from an exact height (as calculated by the architect of the new property), our telescopic mast was used instead of the drone. The mast is able to support the camera at a perfectly fixed point in space, allowing panoramic photographs to be captured with no changes in perspective between the photographs. 
Horizon Imaging was recently commissioned to take a set of panoramic aerial photographs to simulate the views from a proposed new house in St George's Hill in Weybridge, Surrey. 
 
As the required photographs had to be taken from an exact height (as calculated by the architect of the new property), our telescopic mast was used instead of the drone. The mast is able to support the camera at a perfectly fixed point in space, allowing panoramic photographs to be captured with no changes in perspective between the photographs. 
 
Being fully-portable, our telescopic mast was carried through to the back garden of the property and erected exactly where the desired views were to be captured (see the photograph on the right). The mast was extended so the camera was exactly 10 metres above the ground, reproducing the view that a person of average height would see if they were standing on the second floor of the proposed new house. 
 
As many of the panoramas were shot looking directly into the sun, exposure blending was used to ensure detail was retained in both the very bright and very dark areas of the panorama. This process involves taking three separate exposures in each position and then blending the images together on the computer to compress the dynamic range. Ultimately this technique produces images which look more natural and realistic, as the human eye is able to capture a much greater dynamic range than a single digital photograph. The same technique is used in all our architectural photographs and virtual tours, and once you've seen the natural results of exposure blending it's hard to go back! 
 
Normally when shooting directly into the sun, distracting lens flares (caused by sunlight bouncing between the different elements inside the lens) can ruin the resulting images. Lens flares normally take the form of brightly coloured green, blue or purple blobs which move around as the sun's position in the image changes. However, due to the nature of lens flares and the image stitching process, they are actually very easy to remove from panoramic photos. As lens flares move when the camera's angle is changed, they will appear in different positions in every overlapping image. Then using Photoshop it's a simple case of 'rubbing out' the lens flare from one image by pasting over it with a section from the adjacent image. 
 
Creating very wide, or even 360 degree panoramas can often result in strange distortions when the panoramas are viewed as flat images. For this reason, I also created a virtual tour style web-based viewer for one of the 360 degree panoramas, which removes the distortion and allows the viewer to 'look around' as if they were there – standing on top of the mast 10 metres in the air! You can see this virtual tour by clicking on the orb on the right. 
 
Compared to the alternative methods for showing a client the view from a proposed 2nd floor window (climbing onto the roof of the existing property, hiring a cherry picker, or erecting scaffolding), panoramic imagery captured from our telescopic mast is so much easier! 
An aerial panorama taken with the mast set to 10 metres to represent the view from a second floor window.
An aerial panorama taken with the mast set to 10 metres to represent the view from a second floor window. Click to enlarge. 
The Horizon Imaging telescopic mast set to 10 metres next to the existing house.
The Horizon Imaging telescopic mast set to 10 metres next to the existing house. Click to enlarge. 
A full 360 degree panorama presented in a virtual tour viewer. Click to open in a new window. 
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