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360° panorama from the roof of Thomas Hill Standpipe

Thomas Hill Standpipe in Bangor, Maine has one of the best 360° views in the area. On a clear day you can see Mt. Katahdin 76 miles away. Click the preview photo to see a 360° panorama from the roof, as well as a spherical panorama of the interior. Click the "i" button on each panorama in the virtual tour for more information about the standpipe and the camera settings & equipment used to create the images.

Check out the plaques in the photo gallery below for more information on this amazing landmark.

The 360° panorama from the roof was a very challenging image to create. Not only was the sun popping in and out of clouds making a consistent exposure difficult throughout the image, but with a flag pole and antennas scattered about the middle of the roof there is no single unobstructed position to shoot from. I knew that at 24mm in portrait orientation I could rotate every 30° on my panning head and get a sufficient overlap (43%), so I divided the circumference of the tower into 12 positions and took twelve smaller panoramas by shooting 3 directions (one straight ahead from the railing and two off-axis 30° left and right) at each position along the balustrade, hoping the edges of each of the twelve “mini” panoramas would line up with each other to stitch all the smaller panoramas into one large seamless panorama later. I included a diagram here to visualize the technique. I only shot a single row to see if it was even possible to stitch such a complicated 360° image from so many different camera locations. The final image is a little over 92 megapixels and 85” x 19”.

On the way back down I decided to shoot a spherical panorama of the cap that covers the water tower. This is inside the roof area above the observation deck or promenade. It was so dark that I had to use my flashlight to see the index marks on my panning head. The surface of the water inside the tank is a few feet below the floor.

The high-resolution HDR image of the exterior is 172 megapixels, or about 47” x 63” printed at full resolution, taken with a Gigapan Epic Pro and a Promote Control. It is stitched from 140 individual images: 4 columns, 7 rows, and 5 exposures.

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