Posts Tagged ‘Rochester Castle’

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Rochester – Gigapan Photos

Friday September 24, 2010

Went out on Wednesday with my camera and my Gigapan to take some panoramic photos from the top of Rochester Castle.

The two images came out quite well.  The shot of the Castle gardens is the result of 80 individual photos and the shot overlooking the Cathedral resulted from 98 photos – all merged and blended by the Gigapan Stitch software (the gardens image taking over 1hr 30mins to complete).

The resultant Gigapan images can be explored by zooming in and out and panning around them.  Follow these links to view them:

Overlooking the Cathedral ( Gigapan link)
Castle Gardens (Gigapan link)

From Rochester Castle (Gigapan)

Rochester Castle Gardens (Gigapan)

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Buddy Guy, Quo and the Castle Proms

Sunday July 18, 2010

Buddy Guy - OnstageA month of live music for me this month!  Buddy Guy at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire at the beginning of the month got things started.  I’ve been a Buddy Guy fan for quite a few years but failed to get to see him in his own club ‘Legends‘ when I regularly visited Chicago.  I was therefore very keen to  see him in London when I saw that he was playing one night there.

It was an excellent show with Buddy truly entertaining the crowd as opposed to just singing some songs.  At one point he left the stage and walked through the public area playing his guitar and singing as the crowd parted in front of him – everybody in total awe.

Last night, Saturday 17th,  was the last night of the Castle Concerts at Rochester Castle.  Every year Medway Council puts on four nights of concerts in the grounds of the Castle, this year it was: Status Quo, Will Young, The Saturdays and finally the Castle Proms with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

I managed to see Status Quo on Wednesday night and also went to the Castle Proms last night, Saturday.  Both were fantastic events – unfortunately I forgot my camera on the night of Status Quo!

The ‘Quo concert was sold out (around 4,500 people) and the atmosphere was fantastic.

The Castle Proms was a more sedate affair with people with tables, chairs, dinner jackets and wine.  Well, I say sedate… it was until the patriotic songs came on in true ‘last night of the proms’ style and the flags were waved and the choruses sung loudly!  An amazing night topped off with some great fireworks!

Photos over on Flickr.

Patriotic Castle

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Iron Man & ACDC vs Rochester Castle

Tuesday April 27, 2010

Wow.

Turn your speakers up and watch Rochester Castle rock!!!

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Rochester Castle – Wall Collapses

Saturday March 6, 2010

Took the Dahon into town this morning for what was its first outing this year.  This fact was pretty obvious when I unfolded the bike and found that the tyres were almost completely flat.  It was a nice ride but it was very cold out.

One thing I did notice on the ride into town was the building work going on around Rochester Castle.  A quick Google search this afternoon reveals that part of the bailey wall had collapsed during the week as a result of heavy rain.  Repair work is under way although it’s not affecting the castle itself nor entry to the castle grounds.

BBC News story (inc. video) is available via this link.

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Gigapan – The Photography Robot

Sunday December 13, 2009

The bikes have got me back into photography.  When I go out on long rides I take my Canon Ixus 40 with me to capture the ride, the sights and the memories.  Then I bought my Canon G11 as I wanted more control – the same level of control I had when I used my Minolta SLRs in the past.

Now I’ve bought a Gigapan Epic – a robotic camera mount for taking huge, high resolution images.

What?!

Okay, here’s something cool:

The GigaPan Imager uses the same panoramic photo technology as the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, used to collect amazing panoramic images of Mars.

GigaPan Systems was established in 2008 as a commercial spin-off of a successful collaboration between researchers at NASA and Carnegie Mellon University that developed the breakthrough GigaPan System for creating high-resolution panoramic images. GigaPan Systems was founded to bring this powerful, high-resolution imaging capability to a broad audience.

The Gigapan system consists of the robotic mount, stitching software and the Gigapan.org website which hosts the resulting massive images.

The mount itself ($300) fixes to the top of your tripod and then holds your digital camera nice and tightly in its special fixture.  There’s a small amount of setup to perform, so that it knows the field of view of your specific camera, and that’s it.  You then put your camera on maximum zoom, lock the focus, lock the exposure, then tell the Gigapan what to do.  It’s simple: you point the system at the top-left corner of your scene, then the bottom-right corner, and the Gigapan will then work out how many shots it needs to cover the entire scene.  Everything set, you start it off and it pans and tilts until its taken loads of individual photographs of the scene: x-number of rows and x-number of columns.

You then go home and download the images from your camera and into Gigapan’s stitching software.  This software really ‘uses’ your computer and all its processing and memory capacity to blend the photos into one huge image.  This can take a long time to compute, my initial (relatively small) capture took around 30 minutes – it’s complex and demanding for the software/computer to merge and blend these images automatically but it does it fantastically well.

Once it’s done its thing you upload to the Gigapan.org website, into your account, and then it’s available for the world to see.

Initially it looks like a normal photograph, but then you move your mouse over it and you realise that you can zoom into the image, pan around and explore it – in a similar way to the way you navigate in Google Maps.  Find something of interest in the middle of the image? Just zoom in and take a look.  As you do, the Gigapan viewing software adds the more detailed images as you get in closer until you reach the full resolution, then just keep panning.

The Gigapan hardware was shipped to to me from the USA.  I ordered it late on a Sunday night (UK time), the Gigapan team shipped it on Monday afternoon and it arrived at 1045 on the Wednesday morning!  Really quick shipping and a high quality product.

It’s a great bit of kit and I’ve only just started playing with it.  The weather yesterday curtailed my trials but I managed to get a couple of giga-images captured: the Castle and the Cathedral.  I’ve just exported the castle image to a TIFF file and that image is 450MB in size!  It is a 261 mega pixel image!  Oh, and it took my computer 1hr 55mins to stitch it together – that’s 56 images in a grid of 7 x 8.

The images below are small copies of the exported TIFF files, if you want to see the Gigapan images then click the links below each photo and you’ll be taken to the images over on Gigapan.org.

I’ll post updates of my Gigapan experiences as and when they happen.


Click here to view the Gigapan image of the Castle


Click here to view the Gigapan image of the Cathedral


My Gigapan Epic set to take the images of the Cathedral

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Rochester Castle

Sunday March 29, 2009

I spend quite a bit of time in the grounds of Rochester Castle, whether passing through on foot or relaxing on the way back from a bike ride.  A fair few of my photographs of the Dahon have been taken in or around the Castle so I thought I’d post the photo below of the Castle from the air.

It’s from MultiMap’s Bird’s Eye view option and this capture shows the Castle and its grounds.  Just above the Castle you’ll see Rochester Cathedral.

To view the images on MultiMap, which allows you to zoom in, pan and rotate, click here and then select Bird’s Eye imagery.

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Early Saturday

Saturday March 14, 2009

Another early Saturday morning ride, this time to get some parcels from the Post Office.  The Dahon was the chosen vehicle for this and I slowly cycled into town.

I’ve had a bad neck this week, I must of pulled a muscle somehow, so the ride was slow and looking either side or behind proved to be painful.

Took a couple of snaps on my mobile phone camera of the Castle and the Cathedral on the way back.  These photos show the buildings from different angles compared to my previous photos.

(The camera on my Nokia E51 is not very good!).

Click on the images to view larger copies or pop over to my Out on the Bike set at Flickr.

Rochester Castle

Rochester Cathedral

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