Bending

The Walnut Street Bridge takes a wild turn

The Walnut Street Bridge takes a wild turn

I have discovered a whole new way to have fun with my iPhone camera.  Yes, more panoramics!  But in this case, instead of creating a really big view of a vast landscape, I’m making a U-shape!  I know, I am easily amused.

But how much fun is it to stand on the Walnut Street Bridge and take a panoramic shot that starts by looking up the bridge, then pans across the scene of Riverbend and ends looking down the bridge?

I clarifies the concept of putting a 3-dimensional landscape into 2 dimensions in a brand new way.  I am starting to think of other possible uses for the panoramic capability.  I will cover 240 degrees.  That means I can’t quite create a circle.  But horseshoe shapes?  The bridge is pretty close to a horseshoe.

Bending the bridge around the Carousel in Coolidge Park

Bending the bridge around the Carousel in Coolidge Park

Before I get carried away on the possibilities, let me just mention that we are rapidly approaching the close of this year’s Riverbend Festival.  Riverbend is a pretty big deal that takes over the river front across the river.  They close the main street that runs along the river, float in a big stage, and book many bands.  Lynrd Skynrd played last night.  That was a bit of a shock–I thought most of the band died in a plane many years ago?  I guess you can still be a band even if you’ve replaced most of the original members.

In any case, Riverbend attracts a large crowd.  Supposedly, over 600,000 people descend upon Chattanooga over the course of the 2 week music festival.  To put that in perspective, there are about 170,000 people in Chattanooga proper.  Believe it or not, that makes Chattanooga the 4th largest city in Tennessee, and only a about 10,000 people behind Knoxville, the largest city in East Tennessee.  Only Nashville and Memphis are larger.

A panoramic that stops short of making a bend

A panoramic that stops short of making a bend

By the time you add 600,000 people to Chattanooga, that’s enough to bump the population up to the largest city in Tennessee.  Of course, they’re not all here at once.  But, the extra crowd may explain the extra people hanging out in the park looking like perhaps they are camping out there.  It’s hard for me to believe there are enough hotel rooms in town to house even 300,000 extra people.  The building we live in has suddenly filled with extra people we don’t recognize and cars in parking spots that are normally empty.

We’ve learned that locals are not fond of Riverbend.  I think people camping in the park do not help the locals lack of enthusiasm.  But it’s likely the fight for parking is the bigger issue.  People park anywhere they can.  It’s pretty rare to find free parking anywhere in the vicinity of downtown.  During Riverbend, unless you have a reserved spot, you’re pretty much out of luck.

However people feel about Riverbend, the fireworks display at the end of the festival is a big deal.  We’ll see if it’s as impressive as last year tomorrow night.

Tisen cuddling with daddy

Tisen cuddling with daddy

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iPhonoramic

Mocassin Bend from the Point at Point Park, Lookout Mountain

Mocassin Bend from the Point at Point Park, Lookout Mountain

Back home in Chattanooga after a week away at a work conference resulted in two things.  First, a lot of napping and second, a disappointingly dull Memorial Day weekend.

Feeling obligated to do something both celebratory and respectful of those who have served, we managed to muster enough energy to go up to the military park on Lookout Mountain, Point Park, and take Tisen on a walk around the point.

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you’ve undoubtedly seen photos from Point Park many times–it’s one of my favorite places to take visitors because of the spectacular views from the point.

And, in fact, I took enough photos for at least two more posts (sorry), but for today’s post, I thought I would share my iPhone panoramic experience.

Another go at Moccasin Bend - almost level

Another go at Moccasin Bend – almost level

First, I confess, I was not an early adopter of this capability.  I updated my iPad to iOS 6 (the update required) months ago when it first became available.  However, updating erased all the data on my iPad, which I restored from backup.  Since I wasn’t sure I had a backup of my iPhone, I waited to upgrade until I had a chance to do a full backup.  It took the moment when I was in the Grand Ole Opry wishing I could take a panoramic shot on Wednesday night before I had sufficient motivation to do the backup and upgrade process.

At long last, I made time for the upgrade (iOS 6 has been out so long, it’s moved on to 6.1 now) on Friday night.  Ironically, I immediately forgot I’d upgraded and now had the ability to do panoramic images.  In fact, it wasn’t until I got to the point in Point Park and saw a guy pull out his iPhone and start taking a panoramic shot that I remembered I too now had this amazing “new” technology!

Another way to get Panoramic--using Stitch to piece together multiple photos in software

Another way to get Panoramic–using Stitch to piece together multiple photos in software

Truthfully, the ability to produce panoramic images has been around for many years.  I believe the first Canon digital camera I ever bought back in the late 90’s came with software called “Stitch” that would allow you to put together multiple photos into a single panoramic view.  If it wasn’t with my first digital camera, it was certainly with my second in 2003.  I have silly looking panoramic shots where the photos create a rather embarrassing curved shape.  If they weren’t on a different computer, I would post one for you now.

A really old-fashioned way to get a panoramic image--crop to panoramic dimensions

A really old-fashioned way to get a panoramic image–crop to panoramic dimensions

By comparison, the iPhone panoramic feature is easy to use.  Rather than taking a bunch of photos individually and either using a tripod or hope to line them up horizontally so you can “stitch” them together in software later, the iPhone uses a video-like mode and guides you through capturing 240 degrees of image while it automatically puts the images together into one.  The result?  Well, you go home with a panoramic already done.  On the down side, the exposure is set from where you start, so choose your starting place carefully.

Starting the image capture in the shadows results in an overexposed bright area

Starting the image capture in the shadows results in an overexposed bright area