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name and portrait Robert Bilsland

website name Panoview
website url
city and country Malvern, UK

personal statement At the same time I was bitten by the digital photography bug in 1999, I was seeing the beginning of interactive panoramas on the Internet. They grabbed me for being able to let me choose in what direction I looked. I wasn’t stuck with a single view of a scene. I started wondering how were they created? Could I create the same myself, or better? Well after plenty of research and reading I found some basic tools and was on my way to creating my own work. At first I concentrated on viewing my panoramas interactively, until I realised how good they looked printed as well.

I have lived in Malvern, England, for most of my life, and it is a place that I have no plans to leave. It’s a wonderful location, somewhere so stunning that is has been designated as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. The town is wrapped around the hills that form its backbone and in no distance at all you can go from standing on the banks of the river Severn to 425 meters above sea level on the highest point of the hills.

I believe that it is all too easy to miss the beauty of the area that you live in. You become numb to what you see every day and to what you have around you. It takes someone visiting to remind you how lucky you are, for what you have right on your own doorstep. It is for this reason that I try to shoot most of my panoramas locally, with each of them preserving a moment in time at a specific location.

I enjoy taking part in on-line events like the World Wide Panorama project and submitting my work to the 360 Cities site. It is through these sites, and others, that I am able to share my panoramas and enthusiasm for them with the rest of the world. I am able to let others see the beauty that surrounds me.

Over the years I’ve always looked for different avenues where my panoramas could be used, and I believe that there could be a use for them in education. With the cost and the rules and regulations associated with trips on the rise, a virtual trip might be a viable option. It could never replace a real trip, but if the choice is between virtual or not at all, then virtual must be worth a try. At least to allow the children to experience a place they might otherwise not see.

suggested panel layout

first image
first image title Worcestershire's little-known Baroque gem
first image subject St. Michael and All Angels Church
first image place date Great Whitley, Worcestershire, England, July 20, 2008
first image caption From the outside, St. Michael and All Angels Church looks to be nothing special, but this all changes the second you walk through the door. The vivid colours and gold leaf attack your vision, which ever way you look. It is said that this is one of Britain's finest Italian Baroque churches. The windows, painted in vibrant colours, depict scenes from the New Testament following the life of Christ, whilst the ceiling is covered with paintings by the Italian artist Antonio Bellucci and copious amounts of gold leaf.

I chose to re-project the full spherical panorama that I had shot, to this view that really focuses on the golden altar and stunning ceiling.

second image
second image title Nature’s yearly carpet of blue
second image subject Bluebells on the western slopes of the north hill
second image place date West Malvern, Worcestershire, England, April 25, 2011
second image caption Each year without fail, in the shadow of the Malvern hills, nature covers this meadow and neighbouring woodland in a rich blanket of blue. Just a few weeks before there is no sign of this impending change, then in a matter of days the change is complete. Of course, I'm not the only photographer here, it attracts casual amateurs to professionals alike, all wanting to capture their own views of this magnificent carpet of flowers.

I have created panoramas in this meadow many times before, this being just the latest visit showing the year’s beautiful display. This was originally shot as a full spherical panorama before re-projecting to what you see here.

third image
third image title Modern touches to a Norman Priory
third image subject The north chapel behind the high altar
third image place date Malvern Priory, Malvern, Worcestershire, England, September 11, 2010
third image caption Since its Norman beginnings in 1085, Malvern Priory has undergone many changes. The pair of smaller windows that you see here are the latest change. The Millennium Windows depict a number of verses from Psalm 36 in a bright and modern style, not like traditional church windows at all. The area is referred to as the north chapel and is used for quiet prayer, its small and private feeling is in contrast to the large openness of the rest of the building.

I like this panorama as it shows an area that is not always seen by people visiting because it is tucked away behind the main altar, away from the main body of the Priory.

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