Photospheres by Google

One of the cool things you can do with your mobile device (you can makethem with your DSLR, too… but it´s more tricky) is called Photospheres. This 360° dynamic pictures were developed by Google and are a pretty amazing and easy way to depicture the world around you… literally! You can show the view from your standpoint in all directions, creating a submersive feeling. The viewer of the photosphere feels just as if he was you standing there and looking around himself. Google has even created a dedicated site for this kind of pictures and you can almost “travel” around the whole world by visiting it: it´s called views. Check it out!

As far as I know, Google introduced this feature into the camera App of Android phone with Android 4.2. At that time I only had 4.1, but I just downloaded the APK and installed it on my Samsung S3. It all worked out fine, no glitches, no malfunctions. I just found an article over at petapixel.com in which they state that the APK can even be installed on almost all mobile running Android 4.0 and up. But, as always, double check in the net if your device is compatible with it.

Handling is extremly easy and intuitive: you just hold your mobile infront of your face and then slowly begin to turn around. The app will show you what it has framed, so you just go on till the whole spectrum is covered. Just as an advice: be sure not to turn too fast and try to get a stable vertical position when you spin around. Otherwise the pictures will hace serious glitches! But after you have made your first 10 photospheres you will get the handle of it. Here is a short Google video explaining how to use it:

Easy cake!

The first time when I got out to test it, it felt a little strange… ya know, standing there and turning around… people watching, but after a while you get the grip and I can assure you, you´ll have lots of fun using it! Here are two examples of Photospheres I made in the city of Hamburg while walking around the port. Just drag with your mouse (or finger) and see what I saw that day:

(If you want to check it on Google Maps, click here.)

And here is a second one:

(If you want to check it on Google Maps, click here.)

 

You see, you can even edit the pictures with PS before uploading them, so allowing you to put some filter or make corrections. I know there are far more perfect hardware/software solutions for this kind of pictures, but I have not found any other alternative that is that easy to use and handle. By the way, if you use a tripod you can achieve very good results (note that many of the lines in my pics above just don´t work out… it´s because I did not turn perfectly) but who carries one along when you´re just up to snap some views. As with almost all mobile photography: it´s about the moment and place, it´s not too much about perfection.

So, if you´re interested head over to your App provider (it´s available for Android and IOS) and try it out!