Intro to Spherical Photography

I’ve always been fascinated by 360° spherical photographs (sometimes called “mirrorballs, planets or wormholes”). [Click to Enlarge]

I bought a Ricoh Theta S with two 180° fisheye lenses pointing in opposite directions. The raw photographs are similar to equirectangular maps where the equator is “normal” and the poles are stretched. To prove this point I took a random map from the web and transformed it into a globe…

Here is the Theta S equivalent of the source map above…

The camera is controlled from a smartphone, and comes with software to turn the flat image into a sphere (top), a planet, or a wormhole (below).

The photos above were taken with a special tripod that is mostly invisible. The camera does have a physical shutter release so it can also be used as a handheld. [Note the giant hand, but where’s the camera?!]


You can flatten the horizon for an ultra-wide angle panorama.

Or bend the photo into a 360° planet


In the two photos above, the camera is mounted on a two foot mast just in front of my feet.

Trim the top and bottom and you have a 360° conventional panorama

You can also hold the camera above your head for an interesting effect…


I finally understand how these Mars Curiosity self-portraits are possible, again where’s the camera?!