Selfie at the pool

Vernal pools are enchanting places, the breeding habitat of dozens of animal species that would otherwise be absent or rare in a forest. But it is a challenge to take enchanting photos of vernal pools. If you stand far enough away to include the entire pool, lots of trees will probably block your view and the photos don’t seem to capture the essence or importance of the place.

The Ron Thompson Gangster Carp Pole is a 36 foot long fishing rod manufactured in Great Britain for catching fish in ponds. I don’t understand it either. With the top two of the eight sections removed it will support a camera about 24 feet above the ground. Photo by Ned, May 3, 2020.

Ned bought a couple of Gangster Carp Poles for doing low-altitude aerial photography and I have used one to take photos of things around my house. Getting a camera up into the forest canopy can provide an unusual view, so I brought the pole and a motorized camera rig to the vernal pool we have been monitoring.

The Saturn V Rig points the camera in every direction it can and takes a photo. I held the pole as still as I could and let the rig capture photos of the entire scene over the pool for several minutes. It was taking 25 different photos every two minutes before starting the cycle again. I wasn’t doing anything but trying not to move. The 25 photos from one complete cycle were later stitched together in Microsoft ICE.

This stitched panorama includes parts of about half the photos from one cycle of the Saturn V Rig. I would like to try this on a day with more sun to get the reflection of the blue sky on the water, maybe in a week or so when the tree leaves are just starting to expand. May 6, 2020.
This is the same stitched panorama as the previous image, but parts of all 25 of the stitched photos are shown, including the photos taken with the camera tilted upwards. After stitching, the panorama was displayed with a stereographic projection. For obvious reasons, this type of view is referred to as “little planet.” I am not sure how well this image conveys the essence of a vernal pool. It might do a better job capturing the appearance of some tiny thing that lives in a vernal pool. May 6, 2020.

The full panorama includes parts of 25 12 megapixel photos, so it is a high resolution image. Above, it is embedded from GigaPan so you can exploit the full resolution by zooming and scrolling or clicking on the snapshots.

I might try to capture this view again on a brighter day but before the tree leaves get very big. It’s satisfying to do a type of aerial photography which drones are not very good at.

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