KAP Panoramic Imagery

J.S. and S.W. Aber


Panoramic photographs have a long history in kite aerial photography beginning with George R. Lawrence early in the 20th century--see KAP golden age. A true panoramic photograph shows 120 or more of the horizon with little geometric distortion. This is accomplished by rapidly rotating (panning) a slit lens, which sweeps the light exposure along a strip of film mounted in a semi-circular fashion. Panoramic cameras are available today, but are difficult to adapt for kite aerial photography.

A composite panoramic image can be constructed from a series of overlapping individual frames that are stitched together and projected in cylindrical format. This technique works best if all images are about the same scale, the horizon is roughly level, and each photo displays comparable lighting conditions.

The following example was created using D Joiner software. The four input images were acquired in July, 2004 at Cheyenne Bottoms, a major wetland site in central Kansas. The photos were taken with a Canon Digital Rebel with an 18 mm lens, which produces a wide-angle view equivalent to 28 mm focal length in conventional film format. While quite similar, the four images have slighly different brightness levels owing to different sun positions and cloud shadows for each. These contrast differences are smoothed to be less noticeable in the panoramic composite.

Individual input images of Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas.

View westward

View toward NW

View northward

View toward NE

Panoramic image of Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas.
Compare with strongly distorted views of the fisheye lens.

Return to KAP camera rigs.

More airphotos of Cheyenne Bottoms.

All text and imagery © by the authors.
Last update Nov. 2004.