© 2012-2018 HighCamp Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

My Life's A Trip

Luxury Without Snobbery*

Back to Posts

Petra Panoramas: the Autostitch vs. Photosynth smackdown

One of the many stunning desert landscapes of Jordan- mobile photography using the autostitch app.

Admittedly, I’m a film geek. So on my recent trip to Petra, I was very excited to check out Jordan’s famed Treasury building for myself. The treasury of Petra was a set piece in Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade.  I’d already hit Wadi Rum of Lawrence of Arabia fame and been impressed, so why not tackle locations used in an Indiana Jones film and The Hurt Locker (which shot in Amman) during my time in the Middle East?  I’m happy to report that Petra lives up to the hype. It’s larger and more spread out than I thought it would be, and Jordan’s stunning desert landscapes never failed to take my breath away. I’ve always found deserts fascinating and respond to their desolate sort of beauty.  I had bright blue skies with puffy clouds during my December visit and I thought they were just glorious. I was advised by many locals that the spring, when the desert is in bloom, is definitely the best (and most picturesque) time to visit.

Camel pictures

I was so surrounded by natural beauty in Jordan, I found U2’s Beautiful Day on heavy rotation in the soundtrack in my head. Yes, I went that cliched. I also found doing something I rarely ever do—shooting landscape photos.

Petra Canyon, shot and apped on my iPhone 4s using autostitch

Donkeys going to work in Petra, a tourist hanging out in front of the Petra Treasury building

An Autostitch panorama of the Petra Treasury building, and on the right the lobby of the Moevenpick Petra hotel, which was my home base in Petra.

“Petra at Night”- the canyon is illuminated with luminarias and a concert of Bedouin instruments takes place outside the treasury building. It was a very romantic setting.

Petra at Night detailPetra at Night (not mobile)

Landscapes aren’t my forte, but I had fun attempting to capture them in Jordan. I’m extremely grateful for the Autostitch app for my iPhone, which helped enormously on this trip. Autostich is my panorama app of choice because of the choices it allows you to control how seemlessly you use blending, and you can play with the results after the fact. While new technology is really cool, I like it best when it allows me to make things look crappier. For this reason, I set my autostitch app to advanced and use the 30% option for the most David Hockney like results.

I also used microsoft’s  PhotoSynth, which almost works but has some very digi glitches which make for some hilarious results.

Mobile photography pictures of Jordan, here in front of the Petra treasury.

As you can tell by my PhotoSynth Fail below, which I actually find pretty amusing, I’m on Team Autostich.

Treasury Photosynth Fail