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name and portrait Gerardo Antonio Sánchez


company
website name Mérida 360
website url www.merida360.com
city and country Mérida, Venezuela

personal statement Born and living in Mérida, Venezuela, I have been involved in photography since my youth, first with analog cameras and now with digital.

Panoramic photography has been my interest always, I still have over my office board many of them that I made combining several printed pictures as one image before computer technology was available.

I earned my university degree as an electronic engineer at “Universidad de Los Andes” and immediately started to work at the National Astronomy Research Center, which is part of the National Observatory in Venezuela. I have been working there in maintenance but also design astronomical instrumentation, mostly with CCD cameras which are very close to photographic equipment. In fact, one of my main projects in astronomy is with a huge CCD camera (64 megapix) that let's us make a long scan survey of the sky similar to a big panoramic image. I have also always been fascinated by virtual reality and the challenge it poses.

My personal project about photography consists of my own web site, www.merida360.com, the only one of its kind in my country, where we have 360 degree interactive views of our state and many others pictures from around the country.

Recently I have exhibited several pictures in local galleries where I have presented my work in panoramic photogrphy as art. In some way I want to show that photography doesn't need to be flat, and that what you see is not exactly what you have around you.

suggested panel layout

first image
first image title Space Time
first image subject
first image place date National Observatorym in Apartaderos, Merida State, Venezuela, taken June 12th, 2008
first image url
first image caption As an engineer worker at the national observatory in Mérida, Venezuela, I find it relatively easy to access places and equipment at the institution. This is the Schmidt camera telescope, the main instrument at our observatory. In this image I want to alter the reality of what can be perceived within an observatory and play a bit with the concept of "space time", which is relevant not only in astronomy but also has profound philosophical implications.

For this shoot I needed to be on the edge of the dome, where the main gate is, and turn to take a 360 degrees view from within a space less than a meter wide. As can be seen in the photograph, the inside height is only a few meters, but the outside is 15 meters below the rim of the dome!

second image
second image title Water Planet
second image subject
second image place date Cayo Muerto, Chichiriviche, Falcon State, Venezuela, taken August 26th, 2007
second image url
second image caption Morrocoy National Park in Falcon State is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, surrounded by spectacular pristine beaches, majestic mangroves and small islands called "Cayos”. With mild and constant temperatures throughout the year because it is near the equator, it is a tourist destination area of primary importance.

This photo is part of a 360-degree image taken with water reaching my waist. One of the characteristics of this area is that you get "low" in waters where you can walk several hundred meters away from the main island. The effect seen here of the "Water Planet” is given by a stereographic projection from the initial spherical image.

third image
third image title The Colors of Music
third image subject
third image place date My house's music hall, Mérida, Venezuela, taken September 21th, 2008
third image url
third image caption For the World Wide Panorama event "Colors" I thought about doing something that was less explicit and more suggestive of the general concept of color. A basic elements of music that uses color is to describe the "timbre" of an instrument. Timbre describes all of the aspects of a musical sound that do not have anything to do with the sound's pitch, loudness, or length. Here you can see, in the main scene, a Violin with a very bright color, a Double-bass with a deep and dark color, and the Piano a very "poly chromatic" instrument.

As with any panoramic picture, once you have created the full 360 degree spherical image you can move it to a plane projection by a mathematical transformation. This lets you make any kind of distortion, like here where you can see all the instruments, especially the double bass, blend as in a Dali picture.

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