Having produced all of the images for the Hitchin Initiative Calendar for 2014 for the Hitchin Historical Society under the title of “Hidden Hitchin”, I was asked to set to work on the 2015 calendar with the title “Open Spaces”. Having been stumped with this for several weeks I suddenly had inspiration and set about shooting a series of Mini-world images.
The theme for the 2015 calendar was quite simple; show some of Hitchin’s open spaces, however as usual with requests from the Historical Society there was an implied “and do something different”. My inspiration came in the form of the mini-world technique I’d seen other people do before. Some quick research on the internet provided the necessary know how.
Step 1 – Shoot your images
In order to shoot images for a mini world you need to shoot a set of images that can be stitched together into a panorama. Having shot panorama’s before I knew the key was to be absolutely consistent about the set of images. To achieve this I set everything I possibly could into manual; so shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focus and even white balance, and then used my tripod to spin the camera and make sure there was a good overlap between the images. To get the greatest height in my images I shot the panorama in portrait format. Using a 17mm lens this resulted in between 12-15 images to make a complete revolution.
Step 2 – Convert into a panorama
Once the images had been taken and post processed the next step was to merge them into a panorama. I use some excellent software for this called Hugin. The merging process takes quite a while since although Hugin offers an auto-stitch to get the best results you need to manually link points in one image to the same point in the next image. Since I was after the best results I could get I wanted I chose to add at least 30 points between each image.
When the “linking” had been done, Hugin would process the images and produce a panorama.
Step 3 – Convert to polar co-ordinates
The next stage was to then convert the panorama into a circular image. This was done using the polar coordinates feature in Gimp which produced a doughnut shaped image. The final steps were to clone the foreground into the middle of the “doughnut” to make the centre of the image and to then paint colour into the edges to convert the circular image into a square. The text was provided by David Howlett of Hitchin Historical society.
The Hitchin Calendar is on sale for £6 at the Hitchin Initiative offices at 27 Churchyard, Hitchin from now until the new year (for further details on the Hitchin Initiative visit their web site www.htci.org.uk).