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HDR Panoramic of Emergency Communications Exercise

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by BarryD3, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. This past weekend was the annual Field Day nation-wide emergency communications exercise by tens of thousands of amateur radio operators (hams). The skills practiced during these annual events help prepare hams to be ready to provide emergency communications when needed, such as during the hours and days after 911, for many weeks immediately after Katrina, etc.

    I helped in this event at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama under not so nice weather conditions. In fact, a few miles away at the Huntsville International Airport on Sunday afternoon during an air show featuring the fantastic Navy Blue Angels, a microburst occurred directly over the airport that not only cancelled the air show, but killed a little 5-year old boy and injured 20 some odd more. A number of hams trained for emergency service were participating in the air show support. When the weather event happened, they, police, EMA, medical teams, etc. handled the situation in a professional and efficient manner. A few weeks before, they practiced a similar event happening with over 200 personnel and 20 volunteer victims.

    A bit before this happened, I had the opportunity to take the shots to make a rather large panoramic view of the Field Day site. I used a D3 with a 24-70 mm F2.8 lens set at a nominal F9 and 1/400 s. I took shots at 12 overlapping positions and 5 bracketed exposures (0.7). Camera was mounted on a Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff pano gear (and it really is good stuff!). The lens was set at 70 mm and nodal slide was adjusted to have the rotational axis located at the lens' entrance pupil.

    The HDR pano was then made using PTGuiPro. FWIW, the alignment optimizer noted the misalignment was worst-case about 1.4 pixel ... program calls that very good. :smile: The resulting image is about 135 MB and has a 7.5:1 aspect ratio. I made a reduced resolution version to show here, although you can easily see the brick detail in the hotel in the full-resolution version. For a higher resolution view, kindly click on the image and then (generally) you will find another button in the lower right corner when you move the mouse over that area. Clicking on this will provide and even higher resolution version, but this is still much lower than the final version.


    I have already printed an 8" by 60" photograph for the club's use. For an upcoming convention next month, I have been asked to print a 24" by 15-foot version!

    This is not your normal outdoor scene, but it does demonstrate the capability of the camera, lens, and the excellent software. If I could shoot the scene again, I think I would have used my micro-Nikkor 105 mm F2.8 and taken around 18 shoots per row and two rows with the same exposure bracketing. The reason for this thought is that I could improve the resolution even more ... but perhaps that would be overkill. :rolleyes: 

    Comments welcome of course.



    Apr 30, 2005
    Nice panorama ! PTgui is such a wonderful program !
  3. LDB415


    Apr 26, 2008
    That's a very nice shot. I'm sure when it's in the 15' mural version it will be awesome. You might also want to post a thread with a number of shots of the actual field day operations for those who aren't aware of what amateur radio has to offer. It might help get less people to complain about antennas and more people to support the vital emergency capabilities should there be a need.
  4. Thank you. Yes, I highly recommend it to anyone intersted in making HDR photos, panoramics, or combinations. For HDR, the Pro version is needed and is about $240 now. Basic version is $129 w/o HDR. BTW, you have done some wonderful work (looked over your web site).

  5. Hmmmm.... I guess this will be better called a mural at the 15-foot size! The printer can handle 42" roll paper. Let's see now, that would be about 40" by 300" (25'). That would be a bit over the top I think.:biggrin:

    Great idea about posting photos of the operations. Actually, we have others in the club whose job it is to do that and I just later see the result in the newsletter. Most of the time I was busy operating the station and trying to make as many contacts as I could. FWIW, we were #1 in our class last year and #13 overall. Locally we have good press on hams and help to explain why the antennas are needed. During the Katrina operation, over 700 hams from Alabama volunteered to work at the local disaster sites (no pay of course). The key point is that the hams response was in hours and was requested by EMA, Red Cross, police, etc. We have a saying, "When all else fails ... amateur radio works!" Also, it was raining a lot of the time and my D3 is pampered by keeping it dry. :smile: I did have an opportunity to take a shot of my special Hex-Beam antenna for 40 m. It is atop of a manlift and the antenna id 40 feet in diameter.


  6. Thank you.
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