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March 26, 2008

Panoramic Stitches from Around the Pacific Northwest

This last weekend, my friend and I headed into Central Washington State for a “Spring Break” roadtrip adventure. Our first stop was Seattle, and then we headed over the Snoqualmie Pass into Central Washington where we stopped by Grand Coulee Dam before heading down to the Tri-Cities area before heading home. I took with me my Dell XPS M1530 (PRODUCT) RED Laptop with me running of course Windows Vista Ultimate (PRODUCT) RED. I also took my Canon HV20 HD Camcorder, and a Canon Digital Rebel XTi – both of which are Certified for Windows Vista.

On the road, I focused mostly on photography. Many of the places we visited didn’t really work well for video and I didn’t feel me standing in front of the camera playing “tour guide” would be of any real value. I relied heavily of course on Windows Vista and Windows Live Photo Gallery to import and manage my photos. Because the Canon Digital Rebel XTi is Certified for Windows Vista – it was hassle free to import sometimes up to 400 pictures into Windows Live Photo Gallery. And the photos themselves averaged about 3MB each as I was shooting in the highest quality possible at 10.1 megapixels.

In using Windows Live Photo Gallery, I have the ability to create a panoramic stitch from the photos I took – probably my most favorite feature in Windows Live Photo Gallery. In shooting photos – I made sure I was shooting with the intent to create stitches. What does that mean really? I would take a picture from one angle, then the next, then the next – which would then allow for Windows Live Photo Gallery to create excellent stitches. I’ll probably do a video on exactly how I shoot for stitching later on.

So now I have a few really cool panoramic stitches to share of the places we stopped on our roadtrip. I go through them in chronological order with some commentary to add context to each photo.

While in Seattle, we ended up walking down to the waterfront from the Space Needle. I took this shot on the roof of the Bell Harbor Conference Center:

View from roof of Bell Harbor Conference Center

Later on, we decided to head on up to the observation deck of the Space Needle. I was able to get several awesome panoramic shots of Seattle from the top of the Space Needle. Here is the first series of shots I took – looking northwest out toward Puget Sound:

Looking Northwest over Puget Sound from Space Needle

Then I took some shots to create this shot overlooking Elliot Bay:

View of Puget Sound from Space Needle

This is Seattle and probably my favorite panoramic stitch of the Seattle bunch:

View of Seattle from the Space Needle

And finally this is looking east towards the Cascade Mountain Range. You can see Lake Union on the lower left:

View looking East from Space Needle

The next day – we headed over the Snoqualmie Pass toward Central Washington State and the Grand Coulee Dam. Up over the pass, it got quite snowy which was a nice (and interesting) change of scenery:

Snow on Snoqualmie Pass

About 100 miles later we were here overlooking the Columbia River near Vantage, WA:

View of Columbia River

Back on the road heading to Grand Coulee Dam – we ended up stopping in the middle of nowhere for this shot:

Middle of Nowhere

In Central Washington, there is quite a bit of interesting geological features (part of why we headed out here). Here is a panoramic shot of Dry Falls. Dry Falls about 10,000-15,000 years ago was a huge water fall carved out by ice age flooding. You can read more about the history of Dry Falls here. But to be here and see it in person was absolutely amazing:

Dry Falls

We finally reached Grand Coulee Dam. It’s pretty big. They say it is the largest concrete structure in the United States. And you can see – there is quite a bit of concrete! We wanted to get a dam tour but it so happens that the very day we drove hundreds of miles to see the dam was the day they decided to do maintenance on the elevators for the tours. This is another one of my favorite shots from the trip:

Grand Coulee Dam

Our trip ended the next day on Oregon Coast outside Tillamook, OR:

Oregon Coast

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed seeing these panoramic stitches of some of these amazing places. Creating your own stitches in Windows Live Photo Gallery is really easy too – all you need is a digital camera and to be able to import into Windows Live Photo Gallery. You can download Windows Live Photo Gallery, part of the Windows Live suite, here.

I’d like to give a shout out to Canon for loaning me the Canon Digital Rebel XTi for the trip. It is a pretty slick camera and as these shots show, it takes some pretty good photos. If you are looking for a DSLR – definitely take a look at this camera.