For the last two weeks I’ve been talking about the virtues of leaving your cave and going forth to see what’s beyond the next rise. It’s easy to talk about getting up and out, it’s far harder to actually do it. It’s the first of the Law of Newtonian Physics which states: The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force.
Paraphrased: A butt will stay planted in a couch unless something kicks it.
While some scientists are finding holes in some of Isaac Newton’s Laws, this one holds true for me. So, I’m always on the lookout for something that will kick me in the keister and get me out the door. Like most folks, once I’m out there, I want to remember the moments by taking photos. That’s where my iPhone comes in. It has become my pocket camera, and it does things no dedicated consumer cam can. All you’ve got to do is use the built-in camera app or grab one of the zillion of specialty camera apps available.
One of the things I’m starting to get into is panoramas. Before smartphones came along creating panos was a time-consuming task. Just getting a broad sweep of a landscape before you with a nice camera was not always easy. You had to take a series of shots with no guide but your inexperienced eye, load them up in an app on your computer, then play with them to get the exposure, and joints right so that the software could stitch it together. Often the results was less than desirable.
Panorama of downtown Orlando taken using PanoMinute. Note those stitch line I forgot to remove.
Now, with your iPhone, you can take guided shots, some apps will shoot the pix for you, all you have to do is line it up properly, and the app will stitch it all together, adjusting exposure and other details as it goes, then let you show the spectacular results to world via your social app of choice. Easy peasey! So this week, I’m going to point out three free apps for creating and sharing panoramas. Believe me when I say that some of these apps and resulting panos will knock your socks off. It may be just the right amount of force necessary to move your mass towards the front door.
Panostitcher: If you just want to shoot a broad field, not a 360 degree pano, and you want to do it easily then PanoStitcher is the app you need.
Tap the screen to set the exposure, then take your shots. The app takes the shot then displays the left-most side of the shot you just took. You rotate until the left side of the previous shot and the right side to your next shot overlay on the screen. Do that until you cover the area you want in your pano, then hit finish. That’s it! The app will stitch it all together and deposit the results in your Camera Roll. What could be easier?
Align by overlapping the new photo over the previous.
And you can get some really nice pans too. The only downside is that it won’t shoot in landscape. Ah well, the app is free, no ads, and it’s so simple my technophobic friends love it. Add PanoStitcher to your iPhone arsenal today.
PanoMinute: If you’re hankering for a bit more out of your pans then try PanoMinute. Not only does it let you shoot pans in landscape orientation, it uses a similar shoot-and-align method PanoStitcher does. What’s also nice is that the app will let you realign each photo in the pan, then offers tools to help eliminate those pesky seams that often appear when you stitch together photos. It’ll also let you know when you’ve shot a full 360 degree pan.
Once you’re done playing you can save your project and send it to your friends via the social tool of choice. PanoMinute does limit you to lower resolution pans, and you have to pay to get the highest possible resolution. If you are just looking to capture a moment and share it, then PanoMinute is worth a look.
TourWrist: If PanoStitch is the low end of the freebie pan apps then TourWrist is the high end. This app is foremost a pan-viewer. TourWrist has a zillion high quality, 360 degree, head to foot pans that are utterly breathtaking. You’ll want to spend time just browsing these magnificent views of places from all over. What’s cool is that TourWrist will let you move around in the pan by turning with your iDevice. When you do this with an iPad you get an inkling of what the place in the pan is like, much more so than any simple photo, or even a movie, because here you control what you see. It’s amazing.
After viewing the super-pans you’ll want to create a few of your own and the app will let you. To do so, however, you have to sign up from a free account. You can then use the pan-shooter, which is, again, very similar in function to PanStitcher. The resulting pans can be adjusted then uploaded to TourWrist for others to see.
There are no ads in TourWrist, just pan-lovin fun. Really, you need to look at this one even if you don’t want to create your own pans.
OK, that’s a wrap for this week. More freebie photo apps below with direct link.