Seeing 360: Photographer has a panoramic view on landscapes
Western Colorado and Eastern Utah are home to beautiful landscapes often seen in photographs. But Larry Lyon, a relative newcomer to the Grand Valley, has found a way to photograph recognizable scenery in a different way.
Lyon, 60, is a virtual photographer, shooting landscapes in 360-degree panoramas that are merged by computer software to make traditional prints or non-traditional online virtual images.
For example, on a January night, Lyon walked to the base of Mount Garfield and took a 360-degree virtual image from an angle at the bottom of the mountain not typically showcased. The image included night lights of the valley and the headlights from passing traffic on Interstate 70.
The mountain and surrounding landscape were covered by a recent dusting of snow and illuminated by the moon. The link to the shoot is available at ldlyon.com/mtgarfield.htm.
Lyon used images from the shoot to create two-dimensional canvas prints that can be hung on the wall.
A Mount Garfield print is one Lyon, who moved here from Texas in August, will show in his first gallery exhibit, titled “Viewscapes,” at Main Street Gallery, 412 Main St. Lyon’s show opens with a reception from 6–9 p.m. Friday, June 3.
The exhibit will feature two-dimensional images as well as a virtual art tour via smartphone or tablet.
“People who attend will be able to step inside the photo,” said Lyon, who has been interested in photography as hobby since he was 16.
Lyon’s foray into virtual photography began 18 months ago when he became interested in being a Google Trusted Photographer. Only Google Trusted Photographers can upload virtual tours to the search engine.
That certification, which required a written test, a test shoot and the creation of five perfect business virtual tours, gives Lyon authorization to shoot virtual tours that pop up with the “See Inside” icon when people search businesses on Google.
Examples can be seen at relyonimages.com.
Lyon invested more than $1,000 in equipment, including a 4-millimeter wide-angle lens and a nodal camera mount. With that equipment, Lyon realized he could do more than virtual tours. He also could take nature photos in an unconventional way.
“I shoot a lot at night,” Lyon said. “The reason is because the colors are more vibrant. Moonlight is less harsh than sunlight.”
To be in the right place under a dark sky, Lyon must do test shots in daylight. He hauls his gear to the location to mark the spot where he wants to capture a photo. He takes 360-degree photos, merges the images using computer software and takes a look.
If he likes what he sees, Lyon marks the spot on his GPS. If he doesn’t, he moves everything into a different position and tries again. Once a spot is marked in his GPS, he can return to it even in the dark.
“I prefer nothing more than a half moon to ensure there are some stars visible in the sky,” Lyon said.
A full moon makes the stars less visible, he said.
Lyon’s results are unique prints that he mounts in handmade floating frames to create a modern look.
Traditional floating frames make it appear as if a print is floating in a frame by not touching the sides. Lyon builds his frames and adds small mounts to the back to make the actual frame appear as if it is floating as well.
To say Lyon is excited about showcasing his photography is an understatement.
“This is my first show,” said Lyon, noting his post-retirement career has been in photography and Google shoots. “This is what I’ve been working on for five years.”