Homeless in Vancouver: Widening one’s horizons on a cold early morning in late fall

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      Contrary to the shock I felt as I unzipped my sleeping bag in the concrete parkade that is my home as a homeless person, it wasn’t really that cold in Vancouver this morning (December 5).

      It could not have been much below 3° Celsius. There was certainly no ice or snow anywhere that I could see.

      It wasn’t until I finally made it to Alder Street, between 8th Avenue and West Broadway at 8:17 a.m. that I saw where all the snow was—on the distant North Shore Mountains!

      Results aside, it was worth the risk of chilled fingers to try capturing the sight of those snow-covered peaks, rising behind the twinkling lights of the downtown skyline.

      Trick photography to get the big picture

      Shooting a multiphoto panoramic from multiple positions allow you to see around corners.

      The panoramic photo heading this post was created using software called AutoStitch to stitch, or join together, 12 photographs, all looking north along Alder Street. Four of the photos were taken by the curb on the east side of the street, another four were taken from the middle of the street and the last four were taken from the curb on the west side of the street.

      This multiple-position approach to taking a panoramic photo effectively allows for a much wider field of view—allowing you to literally see around corners. But there is a big drawback.

      The extra visual material on the sides of the panoramic photo—which is made possible by the multiple viewpoints—will suffer some kind of distortion in the middle distance and foreground, according to the degree of parallax—the “displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight”.

      The distortion of objects by parallax increases with proximity to the viewer. So in Tuesday morning’s panoramic photo, a nearby wooden utility pole appears in two widely separated places and some buildings in the skyline are also repeated—but much closer together.

      Parallax conversely decreases with distance, which mean that this extended panoramic technique has the most important aspect of this morning’s scene down cold—the far off North Shore Mountains—they stitched together perfectly, with no ill effects!

      By the way, the two construction cranes? Those are not a distortion. There really are two of them atop the one building. 

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.

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