This assignment was to find the essence of a place. That place was Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. We set out in search of the DNA of this area. I started out walking around town, and spotted the Lava Hot Springs History Museum. I spoke with the staff of the museum and learned that most of the historic buildings in town were destroyed in a fire, and then a flood. I explored the museum and took a couple shots there. I decided to find out what the modern town had to offer. The next stop was the water slide sign at the entrance to town. This sign pretty much says it all. Visitors to Lava drive under this water slide as they get off the highway and pass the Olympic size pool. Next I wandered up stream along Main Street. I found the Royal Bar, the oldest building still standing in town. Today it is a pizza parlor. I continued up stream to the Sunken Gardens Grotto. This location offered a great vantage point to photograph the hot pools. These hot pools are the main draw for visitors to the area, and have been since the town was settled in the 1800’s. After taking a moment to soak in the ambiance of the grotto, I followed the river back downtown. I came across a pile of tubes for rent and it hits that from end to end, and all through the heart of it, Lava Hot Springs is all about water recreation. The warm waters that flows through the basalt foundations of this town are the true essence of this area. The last thing I decided to do was to zoom up above the town with my UAV and shoot a panorama. I wanted to establish the spatial relationship of the town, the buildings, the river, and the water attractions to the highway, mountains, and railway. This project was challenging and rewarding. I would recommend that any photographer go out and tackle this sort of project next time you are in need of some inspiration.
Dr. Ownby took the class out to the old Chesterfield ghost town by Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. We went there to work on photographing panoramas. The trip was very fun and it was an interesting experience. I have a personal connection to the old township. My step father Troy Call is a descendant of Chester Call, the man who Chesterfield is named for. It was neat to wander around and explore the old buildings. I really got a sense of how things were back then.
While out at Chesterfield, I decided to collect some light data. I shot two 360 hfov panoramas, one with 3 bracketed exposures 2 stops apart. I stitched the resulting photos, 187 of them for each pano, and stacked the bracketed panoramas together. Then reprojected from the rectilinear projection captured by my camera to an equirectangular projection, which is more useful for CG. I also shot several light probes. I have a 3 inch mirrored ball on a mini tripod which I shoot 5 bracketed exposures 2 stops apart and stack the resulting photos into a 32 bit radiance file. Then reproject from a spherical angular map projection on the ball to an equirectangular projection. The 360 pan makes a great background plate for 3d scenes, and the light probe does a great job of shining the real world lighting into the 3d scene.
All in all this was a great experience, and I came away from it with several valuable assets. I hope you enjoy my photos from this trip.