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Who is using Photosynth for gear & trip photos?
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Kenneth Reppart
(kreppart) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Who is using Photosynth for gear & trip photos? on 03/05/2009 17:33:56 MST Print View

Is anyone using Photosynth to share photos of their hiking & camping adventures? I’ve been on BPL for about 18 months and I would love to see some synths of your campsites, tarp & poncho setups, etc. When I first joined it took me forever to figure out how to pitch a tarp, I think a good high quality synth could have explained it much faster.

Here’s how I pitched my GoLite poncho in my front yard.


I work on the Photosynth team and I'd be happy to give feedback on synths or advice for shooting them. If you create synths please tag them with BPL so we can all find them.


- ken

Below are some other backpacking related synths. The first is from a trip to the Olympic Coast, the 2nd two are my TiTri Caldear (550ml) and my beer can stove.

Yellow Banks thumb
Beer can stove (thumb)

TiTri Caldera esbit (thumb)

Edited by kreppart on 03/05/2009 17:42:38 MST.

Kenneth Reppart
(kreppart) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
What is Photosynth anyway? on 03/07/2009 12:46:26 MST Print View

I realized that I didn't explain what Photosynth is, where to find it or how to use it. I need to run today but I'll post more tonight about why I think it's perfect for sharing info about gear & setups.

- ken

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: What is Photosynth anyway? on 03/07/2009 17:04:50 MST Print View

Yep, please do. I clicked through but it wanted me to install something and I couldn't be bothered without knowing more about it ;-)

Is it some sort of multi-view thing?

Edited by ashleyb on 03/07/2009 17:06:05 MST.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: What is Photosynth anyway? on 03/07/2009 18:22:49 MST Print View

Fair enough. I haven't installed the software yet as I am a bit busy, but you have sold me on it and I plan to try it. As someone who has a website with photos, I am interested in this as the reviews of the software seem pretty good. I will say that I would much prefer if people had the ability to view photos without installing the software, even though I may need it to create the images. Looking forward to trying it out.

Michael Chudzinski
(oknowa) - F
info? on 03/07/2009 19:25:45 MST Print View

I am very interested in this,looking forward to your info.


Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Photosynth on 03/07/2009 19:50:32 MST Print View

Microsoft. Bah.

That company could take a few cues from the UL Backpacking community.

Mark Bishop
(mark_b) - MLife

Locale: Northwest (WA)
Photosynth on 03/08/2009 15:50:31 MDT Print View

I had heard of photosynth but hadn't done much with it until now. I just created a synth using some photos I took on a trip to Olympic National Park in August.

If there are any 'synthing' experts out there please let me know what think of this attempt. I'll try another one later.

I don't know how Ken imbedded the little photo's in his post, maybe someone can explain that?

Edited by mark_b on 03/11/2009 21:40:14 MDT.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Nice Synth! on 03/08/2009 19:27:44 MDT Print View


That's neat. I gather that the software automatically made the mosaic? Also what shelter is that- the SMD Gatewood?

Mark Bishop
(mark_b) - MLife

Locale: Northwest (WA)
Photosynth on 03/08/2009 20:31:42 MDT Print View

The softwate does the work and attempts to stitch together the mosiac. I just tied to create another synth but the results aren't very good even though the shots were all taken in the same location.


It is a SMD Gatewood Cape in my synth's.

Edited by mark_b on 03/13/2009 19:28:13 MDT.

Kenneth Reppart
(kreppart) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
some answers to your questions about Photosynth on 03/10/2009 01:12:39 MDT Print View

Let me start with a couple of basics about Photosynth and then I'll follow up on how we could use it on BPL.

What is Photosynth?
Photosynth takes your photos, analyzes them for similarities and constructs a 3D model called a synth. It then displays your original photos in three dimensional space so you can see how they are related to one another. Photosynth also allows you to quickly zoom in to the full resolution of the image because it only downloads the pixels that you need. This video is 2 years old now but still captures most of the important points.

You can find Photosynth at It's free to create synths and everyone gets 20gb of space for their synths.

How do I create a synth?
After you install a small program to do the synthing all you need to do is add your photos and give a name. There’s a how to video and photography guide here. Synthing can only be done on a Windows machine but any computer that can run Silverlight can view a synth.

How many photos does it require? Can I use the photos I already have?
The minimum is 3 photos but most synths are between 50 and 150 photos. Some users have synthed up to around 1,000 photos but that doesn’t necessarily make for a better synth. You might get a decent synth from existing photos but Photosynth requires a lot of overlap so you’ll probably have better results with photos that you take specifically for synthing.

What does this have to do with ultralight backpacking?
There are two uses that I’m really excited about. The first is sharing better images of homemade gear. You can literally take photos from every angle and include close-ups to let everyone see the smallest details. The 2nd is to share images of techniques and campsites. Again, you can share photos from every angle which will give others a sense of the place, and by including details of things like knots or stakes you can convey a lot of information about, for example, how you set up your tarp.
I’ll be happy to answer any specific questions about techniques or how it all works, just post them here on the site and PM me with the thread location.

- ken

Edited by kreppart on 03/10/2009 01:14:30 MDT.

Kenneth Reppart
(kreppart) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
embedding photos & feedback for Mark on 03/10/2009 01:40:07 MDT Print View

Mark you can just download the thumbnail for your synth to your desktop and when you're writing a post click the "Insert Image at Cursor" button to upload it to BPL. Let me know if that's not clear enough.

As for your synths, those results are pretty typical for existing photos. If I were going to photograph the LaCrosse Basin site I'd start by walking all the way around the tarp in a circle and taking about 30-35 photos with the camera on the widest setting. Then I would take some detail shots of anything you wanted to show off - gear, techniques, etc. Finally I'd back up and take a big panorama with lots of overlap making sure that the shelter is visible in several shots so the synther can match everything together. I'd probably take around 100 photos, as you get better you can take fewer (but hey they're cheap!). The first time it'll take a little longer, with experience you can synth it in a few minutes. It's best to practice at home before your next trip though.

Even with the very minimal reconstruction I can still learn a lot about your technique that I'd never get from a static photo. For example I see that you're using the lazr titanium stakes, platypus + aquafina for water, and in the other synth i saw a caldera cone. It's pretty cool!

Next time you're on the site please add the tag BPL to your synth so it's easy to find.

Edited by kreppart on 03/10/2009 01:43:27 MDT.

Kenneth Reppart
(kreppart) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Viewing synths with Silverlight (for Mac or people who don't want to install) on 03/10/2009 01:53:17 MDT Print View

If you're on a Mac or you don't want to install the full Photosynth client you can still use the experimental viewer. Just grab the URL of the synth and head over to Paste the URL into the text box and click the leaves icon.

It's a bit of a workaround for now but the viewer is still considered experimental. It will be properly integrating it into the site very soon.

Here are direct links to the Silverlight versions of the synths above:

PonchoYellow Banks thumbBeer can stove (thumb)TiTri Caldera esbit (thumb)

plus another synth I created recently of our campsite at Yellow Banks on the Olympic coast.

Yellow Banks Campsite (thumb)

Click here to view the same in the high performance viewer.

Edited by kreppart on 03/10/2009 01:59:58 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 03/10/2009 02:05:46 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/12/2015 20:39:16 MDT.

Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Flickr does the job on 03/10/2009 10:11:13 MDT Print View

Given that I own three Macs and hate to install software I think I'll stick with trusty flickr. I have had no problem looking at or posting photographs of gear using flickr.