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Wiley Post Panorama

Friday 02/20/2009 1:00 AM

If there was ever a day to click the link for the higher resolution image, this is it. I've been working on this panorama off and on since I got from Alaska in September of 2007. Tonight I got motivated to finish it up and post it here for you.


The trick to making it work was by downloading the free Microsoft application Windows Live Photo Gallery and then downloading the additional add-on for it from Microsoft Research called the Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) (it is your Link of the Day below).

Once I got a composite image that took care of most of the hard, boring work (like lining up those clouds and making them flow together) I went into the image with Photoshop and tweaked it hear and there to fix some minor horizon issues and one big problem when a person got cut in half (bet you can't figure out which one!).

Please, please, please click the link under the image that pops up when you click the thumbnail. You know, the one that says View Original/Higher Resolution Image In Pop-Up Window.

Then start scrolling from left to right.

Oh, maybe I should say a little something about what you're looking at. Remember when I mentioned getting stranded out in the middle of nowhere? It's one of the many blog stories I've promised you but never got around to writing.

Anyway, the super short version is we went ten miles west of Barrow looking for polar bears. Problem is the roads end about three or four miles west of Barrow. So after that we were riding in the four-wheel drive van down the shore of the Arctic Ocean. Yeah, it was a bumpy ride.

Our turnaround point was your panoramic wondershot of the day. This is where Will Rogers died and there are a couple of monuments dedicated to that tragic plane crash. Wiley Post was the first pilot to fly solo around the world and he was the pilot of the airplane. It was just the two of them when they ran into some bad luck best described by the Wikipedia entry:

They were a few miles from Point Barrow when they became uncertain of their position in bad weather and landed in a lagoon to ask directions. The engine failed on take off, at low altitude, and the aircraft, uncontrollably nose-heavy at low speed, plunged into the lagoon, shearing off the right wing and ending inverted in the shallow water of the lagoon. Both men died instantly.

I don't know this for certain, but I'm guessing the lagoon you see in the distance in the center of the photo is The Lagoon of Death.

We had a tire problem here at our turnaround point and we ended up having about thirty minutes to kill. Just as we got in the van, one of our guides (Mona, a native Inupiat woman) pointed out fresh bear tracks headed back toward town. About ten minutes after heading out in that same direction, we broke down bad and were stuck out in the middle of nowhere for a couple hours with the sun going down, all the while wondering how far down the beach that bear got. But that's another story.

Oh, and the water you see on the far left and far right sides of the panoramic photo is the Arctic Ocean. This is a 360° shot — so you get ocean on both sides.

Link of the Day: Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE)

File Under: Alaska; Barrow; Link of the Day; Photograph, Digital Manipulation/Composite
Music: U2 "No Line On The Horizon"

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