Snowy Mountains Scheme: Tumut 3 Power Station
Talbingo, Snowy Mountains, New South Wales, Australia
September 23, 2005 - 02:25 UTC (12:25 local time)
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© 2005 Simon Wheaton, All Rights Reserved.
- Canon EOS 350D Digital (Digital Rebel XT) Camera
- Canon BG-E3 Battery Grip
- Canon RS-60E3 Remote Switch
- Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens
- Canon EW-83E Lens Hood
- Peace River Studios 3Sixty Panoramic Camera Mount
- Manfrotto 338 Levelling Base
- Acratech Universal Cork Top Quick Release Camera Plate
- Acratech Ultimate Ballhead Tripod Head
- Gitzo G1227MK2 Mountaineer Carbon Fibre Tripod
- Inca Hotshoe-mount Dual Spirit Level
- SanDisk Extreme III 1GB CompactFlash Memory Card
- NextoDI Nexto-CF ND-2500 60GB Portable Storage Device
- Garmin eTrex Vista C GPS Receiver
- Burton Snowboards F-Stop Camera Backpack
- Adobe Photoshop CS2 (RAW Conversion, Image Editing and Adjustments)
- Kekus Digital PTMac (Pano Stitching)
- Helmut Dersch's Panotools (Pano Stitching)
- Kekus Digital XBlend (Pano Blending)
- Andrew Mihal's Enblend (Pano Blending)
- Thomas Rauscher's Pano2QTVR (Stitched Pano Image to QTVR Movie Conversion)
Behind the scene : how this panorama was made
The first step was to work out what I would shoot, based on the WWP 'Energy' theme.
Having spent a lot of time in the mountains snowboarding, mountain biking, and hiking, I decided to shoot something within the Australian Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme.
I researched the Snowy Hydro Limited website to see what panoramic photo opportunities were available within the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Seeing that over 90 percent of the Snowy Mountains Scheme facilities are underground, it didn't leave much choice. The main options seemed to be Tumut 3, Murray 1, and Murray 2 hydro-electric power stations. There are also a couple of small picturesque dams within the scheme that would be nice to shoot, more into the mountains, but the access road to these areas is closed during our winter.
I contacted the Snowy Hydro Limited Marketing Communications Manager, to find out what the rules and regulations were regarding photographing Snowy Hydro Limited assets. I found they did not mind me photographing the outside of their facilities, but I was not permitted to film inside, and that I should acknowledge Snowy Hydro Limited where appropriate.
Coming up to the dates of the events, I was keeping an eye on the weather forecasts. I was originally planning to head up and shoot on the Saturday and Sunday of the event, but the weather forecast was predicting afternoon showers and thunderstorms for the mountains over the weekend. So I decided to take the Friday off of work and head up early Friday morning to shoot during the Friday, and if necessary during the Saturday as well.
I headed up into the mountains early on Friday morning, using a dirt back road from Canberra to Tumut. Which is a more direct route from my home to Talbingo, and to the nearby Tumut 3 Power Station, than the normally used two paved roads into the mountains. It was a nice day, sunny with some clouds, quite nice to be up in the mountains on a warm spring day.
I shot four separate panos around the Tumut 3 Power Station, one pano up above the power station near the Talbingo Dam wall, two panos down in front of the power station itself, and a fourth beside the road that runs behind the power station, where the large pipes carrying water come down the hill from the dam wall, under the road, and into the power station.
Then I headed for Tumut 2 Power Station, which I noticed on the map was on the way to my next pano location. Upon arrival at the Tumut 2 Power Station site I found a sign that said the power station was actually a couple of hundred metres underground. Not much to shoot there except a sign pointing downwards towards the underground power station. Further along the road, down in the valley, was a large tunnel entrance into the side of the mountain, the entrance to the underground power station.
Next was a drive around the mountain range to 10 kilometres past the town of Khancoban, and the Murray 1 and Murray 2 power stations. It was a quick stop at the lookout above Murray 2 Power Station, which was not very exciting to look at, so I decided not to shoot a pano there. Then it was a short drive up the valley to the Murray 1 Power Station. I shot a pano from the roadside lookout overlooking the power station.
Then it was off home, stopping off briefly at Scammells Ridge Lookout on the Alpine Way, and Olsens Lookout, just off the road to Geehi Dam, for pleasant views over Kosciuszko National Park to the snow capped mountain peaks of the Western side of the Snowy Mountains Main Range, part of the Australian Great Dividing Range. 700 kilometres all up for the day, about 8 hours of driving time plus time spent taking the photos, and the shoot was over.
Now it's a few hours behind the computer, manually placing control points on the overlapping images, a process that I really don't enjoy. And as this is my first pano stitching with digital camera images, it is frustrating trying to get my head around RAW digital images and 16 bit panorama stitching workflow, but it is much faster and more consistant than scanning and working with images from film.
I am uploading the completed QTVR files, and finishing off these notes, with just 15 minutes to go before the deadline. Had to make some changes to the images, to fix some problems, and to fit the images within the allowed file sizes.
Overall it was a good experience, a nice drive in the mountains on a warm spring day, a look at some of the Snowy Mountains Scheme facilities, and my first completed panorama from a digital camera.