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name and portrait Jook Leung

company 360VR Images
website name 350VR Images
website url
city and country New York, New York, USA
personal statement As a visual artist, photography has been my life long journey, professionally and personally it continues to be most comforting to my being and is what I do best.

I am constantly challenging myself with new visual encounters that are compelling moments in time where everything around me has a role in my photograph. Nothing is to be left out. These are my 360 degree spherical panoramas. This visual format was first made possible with digital imaging and pioneering technologies like Quicktime VR and Panorama Tools. I have come to embrace this multimedia format as the ultimate immersive visual medium for the photographer-visual artist.

The choice of camera lenses for this continuous perspective is ultra-wide, usually several fisheye images are stitched together to create this spherical 360 degree view. My best panoramic images seek an intimacy with my subjects in full context with their whole environment. The interactive viewing experience puts the viewer right back into the middle of it. This new and exciting photographic environment demands a visual awareness that is wonderful to explore when done exceptionally well.

Creating an exciting 360 degree spherical panorama in a photo-journalistic context is a high challenge. A good photographer's instinct will recognize or create the right conditions to bring subject, composition and story together. It's the extra challenge, the other 240 degrees that most other image-makers choose to ignore in their perceptual field of vision.

My panoramic landscapes are usually urban landscapes with a 360 degree field of view. These can be complex visual narratives that takes a slice out of the constant flow of life and shares that intimacy with the viewer. I am always looking to find my next 360 degree  panorama and be ready to see it before it happens. The ultimate visual narrative for a photographer I feel, is to capture a moment when everything around him reaches a crescendo, to have a picture with a thousand stories.

I have been internationally recognized as an innovator in spherical panoramic photography. In a rare achievement, I was presented with my third consecutive Fujifilm Masterpiece Award for photographic excellence in electronic imaging for my 360 degree panoramas by IAPP - International Association of Panoramic Photographers. My experience spans 34 years as a photographer with a background in photo-illustration and digital imaging. I has been been specializing in 360 degree panoramas for the last 14 years.

I have given presentations and workshops about my work. Most recently at the International VR Photography Association (IVRPA) Tucson 2010 conference. Past participation in IVRPA conferences include Berkley, California and Cologne, Germany.  I've also participated in the the VR Summits in Sedona, Arizona, Washington, DC, and Savannah, Georgia and with the International Association of Panoramic Photographers (IAPP) conventions in Boulder, Colorado, Monterey, California and Austin, Texas. I am on the faculty at Maine Media Workshops as an instructor in 360 Degrees Panoramic Photography. I have given presentations about my panoramic photography to news media and governmental agencies. I have also written articles for Panorama Magazine. In January 2005 my panoramas were featured in an on-air interview on ABC's News Now program about my 360VR panoramas of Times Square, NYC on New Year's Eve.

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first image
first image title Waterfront Promenade
first image subject Hong Kong Harbor
first image place date Hong Kong, China, November 29, 2009
first image caption A must see Hong Kong destination is the pedestrian waterfront area at the southern end of the city's Kowloon Peninsula. This location is Tsim Sha Tsui's Avenue of Stars and is dedicated to Hong Kong's movie industry and it's movie stars. Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor and nighttime skyline is the backdrop.

Ferries crisscross the harbor to carry people and commerce between Victoria Island and the mainland half of the city called Kowloon. Some tour boats in the harbor resemble the famous ancient Chinese sailing vessels called Junks which are still in use today. This is a stereographic or small planet projection of the 360 degree spherical panorama.

second image
second image title Space Shuttle Launch
second image subject Successful launch of NASA's 133rd Space Transport System Mission
second image place date Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, February 24, 2011
second image caption The United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Shuttle program is officially called the Space Transportation System (STS). This panorama documents Space Shuttle Discovery's final mission, STS-133. It lifts off from Kennedy Space Center's pad 39A on it's way to the International Space Station. In this 360 degree spherical panorama is the 8mm fisheye setup that took the top hemisphere of the lift-off just as the space shuttle clears the launch tower. A sound trigger mounted on the tripod leg wakes up the camera and begins shooting a high speed sequence of the lift-off. Water from the nearby water tower floods the flame trench just before engine ignition to help muffle the intense sound waves produced by the Shuttle engines. With the heating of the water, a huge plume of steam is produced during launch. Remote cameras are set up a day before the launch and sit out in the field overnight. The tripod is anchored into the ground and sandbags are required to hold down the tripod legs when you are this close. Everyone is really far away when this rocket goes up. This was a late afternoon launch with the sun nicely backlighting the rapidly expanding exhaust plume.

third image
third image title Mission Accomplished
third image subject Untied States Presidential Election Night
third image place date Times Square, New York City, New York, USA,  November 4, 2008
third image caption On November 4, 2008, New Yorkers gather in Times Square to watch and ultimately celebrate the election of Barack Obama to be the 44th President of the Untied States. Some of his supporters show off the Barack Obama Mission Accomplished Bumper Stickers. Of course there were T-shirts too.

You'll find me in the panorama partially hidden by the Obama T-shirt. I am standing away from the camera and use a wireless remote camera trigger to take as many pictures as needed in all directions to complete this spherical 360 degree panorama. In crowded scenes like this, finding good camera placement and being able to work fast while letting the scene unfold includes a bit of luck and serendipity. The reflections in the glass window also adds another layer of complexity to this visual narrative. This is my favorite example of a panoramic picture with a thousand pictures in it. Unlike my panoramas of Times Square on New Year's Eve, it's not freezing cold outside.

fourth image
fourth image title Tribute in Light Memorial
fourth image subject New York City's Ground Zero Memorial Lights
fourth image place date World Financial Center North Cove Marina, New York City, USA,  September 11, 2007
fourth image caption This is New York City's Tribute in Light Memorial in 2007. Twin beams of light shine upward near Ground Zero for one night on the anniversary of 9-11.The location of this 360 degree panorama is Battery Park City's North Cove Marina. This is a waterfront view of the World Financial Center buildings including the restored 10-story glass-vaulted pavilion called the Winter Garden. The World Trade Center Twin Towers were located just behind the Winter Garden from this viewpoint. The camera is standing right next to a red beacon light that marks one side of the breakwater jetty. You can see the other red beacon on the opposite side. In this unwrapped 360 degree view, it creates an interesting composition that leads the eyes of the viewer into the scene.

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