Panoramic Views od Edinburgh, Scotland
 
In August 2008 our growing Training Team, now part of Sun Microsystems, traveled to Edinburgh to discuss various issues related to our jobs and the courses we offer. But there was still a little time for some sightseeing! However, it was either raining or heavily overcast during these outings, so the lighting was not the best. Below are some of the panoramic images I captured. Some of these still require fill-ins or cropping because I did not crop sufficiently on rendering the final panorama. I have also not yet placed the full-sized versions on the web site, so these are just the "thumbnails". Let's begin with our "team event" on Wednesday of that week :
 
Obviously still a bit unfinished, this shot was taken from N. Bank Street as our group approached the buildings we see before us. On the other side of these buildings is the Royal Mile, the historic district that lies between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood (Queen's residence in Edinburgh). This is a composite of only 5 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 7952 x 3082 pixels (11.4 MB).
 
Here we see the intersection where Johnston Terrace (the road in the center of the picture) branches off from Castlehill (to the right) and Lawnmarket (to the left). This is a composite of 8 individual shots and encompasses a little over 180 degrees of view. Castlehill and Lawnmarket are two segments of a continuously straight street - parts of the Royal Mile. The final full-sized original is 9304 x 2872 pixels (11 MB).
 
This view looks down Castlehill from near the Castle Esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle. This is a composite of only 4 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 5748 x 2976 pixels (8.2 MB).
 
The Castle Esplanade leading up to Edinburgh Castle. The bleachers look pretty permanent and they were being used for the Edinburgh Tattoo competition of military bands taking place during the evenings that week as part of the Edinburgh Festival. This is a composite of only 5 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 6824 x 2860 pixels (9.2 MB).
 
A closter look at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle from the Esplanade, trying to avoid people (an impossible task here!). This is a composite of 7 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 10456 x 3222 pixels (13.1 MB).
 
This shot looks back onto the Esplanade from within the castle walls (near the ticket booth, which is as far as one can get without a ticket). This is a composite of 8 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 8956 x 3050 pixels (11.7 MB).
 
On the right is the Argyle Battery, which was the main defense for the castles north side from the 1730's. The view from there is quite stunning (as we shall soon see!). This is a composite of 7 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 7292 x 3098 pixels (8.2 MB).
 
Looking down from the Argyle Battery we can see the Princes Street Gardens and the central part of Edinburgh. The mound in the distance at the far right of this image is Arthur's Seat - more on that later! This view encompasses about 180 degrees of viewing angle. The stone walls on the far right and left are actually one continuous straight wall over which I took these shots. This is a composite of 27 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 11840 x 3104 pixels (13.9 MB).
 
Rounding the bend to the left of the Argyle Battery, we see the castle's water reservoirs on a little bluff. Yes, the street does go steeply uphill at this point, eventually winding around to the palace courtyard at the top. This is a composite of 6 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 6404 x 3112 pixels (11.7 MB).
 
This is a shot of one corner of the Scottish National War memorial, a building with a long history that was converted for this purpose in the early 20th century. This is a composite of only 3 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 4296 x 3050 pixels (7.8 MB).
 
A view from the Argyle Battery overlooking the modern city of Edinburgh. This is a composite of 6 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 6192 x 3046 pixels (8.3 MB).
 
Another view of castle structures a little to the right of the previous shot. This is a composite of only 4 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 5476 x 3084 pixels (6.2 MB).
 
This is a view of the rear of the Scottish National War Memorial. It is a composite of 14 individual shots taken in two tiers (rows of 7 shots taken one above the other). The final full-sized original is 7976 x 3912 pixels (11.9 MB).
 
On my way to see the Crown Jewels (where no photography was allowed!), I had to pass through a part of the Royal Palace with a number of dimly lit rooms with historical displays. This was one such room - and I took up the challenge! I shot the 4 photographs that were used to create this panoramic image at a shutter speed of 1/5 second, an aperture setting of f/6.3 and a film speed of ISO 200. The images were still too dark, but after stitching the composite image together, I used Photoshop to greatly increase the exposure and got this passable image for my efforts. The final full-sized original is 5576 x 1862 pixels and it shows remarkable detail (9.5 MB).
 
Here we have a very wide composite of the palace courtyard. The Palace is the building on the left (wherein lie the Crown Jewels, safe from photographers). The building on the right is the Queen Anne Building and the one straight ahead is the Great Hall. The series of shots for this composite was taken from in front of the Scottish National War Memorial. This is a composite of 9 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 11244 x 3000 pixels (15.4 MB).
 
And so here is a panorama of the entrance to the Scottish National War Memorial. It is a composite of only 5 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 6884 x 3038 pixels (10.4 MB).
 
Again outside the Scottish National War Memorial, a few members of our Training Team are also headed for the exit (since the Castle closes to tourists in only a few more minutes. This is a composite of only 5 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 5784 x 2626 pixels (7.2 MB).
 
With the Scottish National War Memorial in the background on the left, this is a shot of the oldest building in Edinburgh: St. Margaret's Chapel, built in 1110. To its right (behind the floodlight) is an impressive cannon named Mons Meg. This is the rear of the chapel, but it made for a nice shot. This is a composite of 6 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 6840 x 2796 pixels (10.1 MB).
 
Back down in town after dinner that evening we passed this interesting building on the way to catching the bus back to our hotel. It was dusk, so slow shutter speeds were in order to maintain a reasonable aperture setting for depth of field. The specs on the 4 images used for this vertical composite are 1/25, f/5.6 and ISO 200. The final full-sized original is 3152 x 4392 pixels (6.7 MB).
 
All of the previous pictures were taken on our "team event" trip to Edinburgh Castle on Wednesday. There was no further chance to take any (at least, not for panoramic work) until our meetings were finished Friday afternoon. I then set out on a quest to hike to the top of Arthur's Seat southwest of town. I took the bus into town from our hotel and got off at the corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road - and it was raining! I passed up a number of potentially great shots because it would be too hard to keep my lens dry. Occasionally the rain would let up enough to get in a few shots. Here is a nice memorial garden in West Princes Street Gardens near a street named The Mounds. This is a composite of 12 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 10328 x 3016 pixels (20 MB).
 
This gardener's cottage was just behind the memorial garden in the picture before this one. This is a composite of 8 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 7468 x 2620 pixels (15.4 MB).
 
This panorama was taken from a walkway just below Princes Street in that same garden. Here we can see many of the buildings along the Royal Mile, with Edinburgh Castle on the right. This is a composite of 10 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 9016 x 2804 pixels (13.4 MB).
 
Here is a similar picture from a slightly different location. This is a composite of 11 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 9296 x 3008 pixels (14.3 MB).
 
I crossed The Mound and passed through a small street fair to an overlook of the East Princes Street Gardens, with the North Bridge in the distance in the center of the frame. Still raining (notice the people with umbrellas). This is a composite of 20 individual shots in two tiers. The final full-sized original is 14308 x 4442 pixels (30.2 MB).
 
Down in the East Gardens, I found this nice scene and stood under a tree to take the series. This is a composite of 8 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 7464 x 2838 pixels (14.8 MB).
 
I walked a long way, taking additional panoramas occasionally that I have not included here. I walked over North Bridge and then down the Royal Mile to the Parliament building and the Palace of Holyrood, then into Holyrood Park, where Arthur's Seat is found. By this time, the rain had mostly stopped - except for an occasional mist. Here we are at the beginning of the trail that eventually winds its way up to Arthur's Seat through some interesting geologic formations. This is a composite of 8 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 7408 x 2612 pixels (12.2 MB).
 
As the trail continued, it became a bit steeper and often merged with a streambed that shares the same valley. Since we had just had plenty of rain, the stream was definitely active. Here the ancient cobblestones that occasionally show themselves along the path became steps that had turned to a pleasant cascade - pleasant unless one has to climb up them without proper shoes, of course! This is a composite of 8 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 8020 x 3046 pixels (17.3 MB).
 
Further up the valley, two trails diverged. I took the one on the right, as shown here, to continue up to the Seat (mound in the distance in the middle of this shot) and followed the other trail back down. Notice how there are many paths on the right, each one further up the hill as hikers vainly try to avoid the slippery mud on this wet slope. This is a composite of 8 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 7984 x 2840 pixels (15.2 MB).
 
After a time, I got much nearer to the top. Here is a shot looking back at the trail I had climbed. I had come up the muddy one in the lower part of this picture. When I returned down, I took the upper green trail (while it lasted) on the opposite side of the valley, but eventually found myself down in the stream bed. This is a very wide shot, so horizontal curves below the horizon are somewhat exaggerated. This is a composite of 8 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 7524 x 2764 pixels (10 MB).
 
Here we are at the top of Arthur's Seat. The images for this composite were taken while leaning on the white monument shown in the next picture. This shot encompasses over 180 degrees of view angle. It is a composite of 13 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 9928 x 2504 pixels (12 MB).
 
And here is the goal - Arthur's Seat. There are two pronounced mounds up here. The one with the white monument is the highest. The other has a monument with a horizontal plaque the shows sightings and distances to various features on the horizon all around the peak. I had to wait about 90 minutes to get a complete series of this without people climbing all over these two features! This is a composite of 9 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 11232 x 3048 pixels (14.2 MB).
 
On the way down, I again stopped to take an ultra-wide series of the valley and the view beyond. This one also includes a fine stand of heather in bloom! This is a composite of 10 individual shots. The final full-sized original is 10860 x 2882 pixels (16.3 MB).