Don Bain's 360° Panoramas

History of the project

I began shooting interactive 360° panoramas soon after the technology was invented by Apple Computer. My first panoramas, beginning in August 1996, were shot on negative film using an improvised camera mount, processed in a command line program, and presented in QuickTime VR format. They were published on-line as part of The GeoImages Project, University of California Berkeley.

My privately published Virtual Guidebooks website appeared on-line January 1, 2000, and gradually grew to 8000 panoramas. The site was converted from QTVR to Flash, and eventually to html5. It contained commercial links to Amazon and other vendors.

In September 2011 I undertook a thorough revision of the site, starting with the name. The original 'Virtual Guidebooks' concept made sense early on, when I planned to develop detailed travel guides illustrated with VR panoramas. But this would have required either a staff of researchers and writers, or a partnership with an existing travel guide publisher. Neither of those worked out, but I kept on shooting and producing panoramas anyway. The new name, Don Bain's 360° Panoramas, is a better fit.

In March 2004 I was one of the originators of The World Wide Panorama, a quarterly event promoting 360° panoramic photography that is still active. In June 2007 I helped produce the International VR Photography Conference, held on the University of California Berkeley campus. In April 2010 I organized the conference Tucson 2010 on behalf of the International QTVR Association. In June 2011 I curated two exhibits for the IQTVRA's Palmela 2011 conference. I stopped creating new panoramas after a trip to Baja California in 2020.

The once and future website you see here covers 33 states/provinces/territories and will contain about 100 regions, at least 2900 places, and more than 15,000 360° panoramas. It represents a quarter century of work, traveling and photographing places I find interesting. My self-assigned task was to comprehensively document western North America, from the Arctic Ocean to the tip of Baja California, plus the southern tier of states east to Florida, and Hawaii.

The geographic extremes encompassed are Deadhorse in Alaska to the northwest, Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada to the northeast, Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico, to the southwest, South Point on the Big Island of Hawai'i even further south, and Key West in Florida to the southeast. Plus a few random places in French Polynesia and Scotland.

How best to explore the 360° Panoramas
List of Regions
Home Page