We just told you some weeks ago that viewAt.org wants to know a little bit more about some of the photographers that are part of our community. To know about their photographic passion, their careers, their works… We opened the serie with Vil Muhametshin, and now we continue with Andrey Ilyin.
His first relation with panoramas started thanks to a software that was included in a package of CD’s. He felt curiosity and then built his first panoramic head with a saw and some aluminium tubes. After that, he felt in love with panoramic photography.
Until now, Andrey has got 136 wonderful panoramas published on viewAt.org.
Since when do you start with photography?
Well, everything depends on the definition of 'start with photography' :)
It was present in my life from the very early years – my dad was an amateur photographer, nothing very serious, but we have had the full set of equipment necessary to make BW prints at home – from rangefinder camera Zorky-4 (a replica of early post-war Leica), few tanks for films processing, a red lamp, an enlarger and a dryer. It was unforgettable experience! I still remember the smell of the chemistry, the sense of mystery happening right in front of my eyes when blank paper got covered with faint spots turning into distinct images...
At the end of 90ties when everything was upside down in ex-USSR and I was trying to find some way to earn money, my love to photography that was planted during the childhood years just pushed me to photography as a business. I've bought my first 'serious' SLR – it was a Nikon N6006 – and dove into profession.
When and why did you incorporated panoramic photograph of your work?
It happened by pure chance. It happened in 2004. I've bought a second hand digital compact Canon G5 and discovered in the package a CD with various software, including some primitive panorama stitcher – don't remember it's name. No matter how limited it was, the opportunities provided by this new approach to the images processing just overwhelmed me. I was totally hooked! The whole kingdom of new possibilities just absorbed me. I pretty rapidly progressed from simple 3-4 shots panoramas to spherical panoramas, discovered few resources on the web with collections of great works... Made my first panoramic head with a saw and aluminum tubes, bought a fisheye... and can't stop since than :)
At the moment of falling in love with panoramic photography I had some experience in general photography – from events to portrait and interior photography. It helped me a lot to start fast. I was always keeping a high standard for quality, spending a lot of time and efforts to post process my panoramas as good as possible.
What do you think brings panoramic photography in the big picture?
Some things just can't be shown with the help of traditional media – I mean photographs and video. Sometimes you just need to see the scene as a whole, without the gaps and the editor's manipulation. Panoramas gets somewhere between video and the 'normal' photographs. And of course the spread of fast internet across the world helped a lot. It happened exactly at the moment of my discovery of panoramic photography – spherical panoramas blows the mind of a viewer being displayed full screen (of course under condition if the quality of panoramas is okay). Than goes the availability of the cross-platform viewers for spherical panoramas. Flash based viewers opened the doors wide for general public and for commercial applications. Google's Street view made panoramas even more common and I would say – awaited – by the general public.
Tell us about a panorama that has been particularly challenging for you in its creation.
Hmm... Probably the very first panorama was the hardest. I was burning with desire to produce a real spherical pano, put my hand on fisheye lens already but didn't have a panoramic head yet. So I grabbed a ski pole and put my camera with fisheye (Nikkor 10,5) on the top – trying to position the golden ring of the lens near pole's end while trying to keep a pole vertical. Made few shots in the living room with plenty of objects on the foreground and started the process of stitching. You can imagine how huge were the stitching errors! After few hours of editing in Photoshop I produced acceptable result :)
How you met viewAt.org?
It happened so long time ago – I can't even recall how it happened exactly! ViewAt was one of the first services of this kind - providing a platform for fast and effortless publishing of the spherical panoramas on the web. Such option is very important for beginner panoramic photographers who doesn't know anything even basics of html and stuff like this.
Current ViewAt has smooth interface and is more photography oriented than it's competitors. I always recommend it to other pano photographers who asks me about the easy way to share their works on the web.
What brings viewAt.org to your work?
I wouldn't say that ViewAt brings something to my work directly – my main customers are located nearby and found them using old fashioned 'by person' approach. But I regularly surf at ViewAt enjoying great panoramas from around the World. It is amazing how wide this relatively new technique got accommodated by the enthusiast photographers, how the quality got boosted. It is always good to be informed about the general level of standards to stay on the top.
Do you think that with viewAt Pro accounts gets your work easier when you publish your panoramas and you include all the new extra features?
As I mentioned already, my approach to the marketing of photography services relies on the personal contacts. Here in Moscow it gives me better results – richer clients, ready to pay more for high end work.
I have a basic account at ViewAt, it provides plenty of features for casual publishing of panoramas. Of course if I would offer my services globally or at least in the regions where ViewAt is popular in the audience matching to my potential client base, I would buy a Pro account with a heartbeat, it is very affordable and provides plenty of tools for creating of the virtual tours.