When you look at Little Planet photos, you can’t help but smile. And they are easy to make, whether you have a smartphone or a “big” camera. Their 360-degree, gentle horizon invites you to look, and look a little more. Fun for all ages, I like to think.
Let’s start with the big cameras… If you use a DSLR camera, many wide-angle lenses will do. I won’t go into all the possibilities here, but I’ll give you a tour inside my toolkit: I marry a fisheye lens onto my Canon 5D camera. Then I take 8 to 12 photographs while walking in a circle around my tripod. Back at the computer, I seamlessly stitch the panorama together using special software to create a super wide-angle view. (See Resources below for a tutorial).
Can you use a smartphone to make Little Planet photos?
Yes, you can. You will find a link to a useful app at the end of this article, after the “Daffodil Basketball” Little Planet.
Little Planet photography combines science, geometry, and art. The technique follows a classic mapping method called “stereographic projection.” This simply means to project a sphere onto a flat surface.
About these Little Planet photos
I’ve selected some of my favorite images and paired them (like a good wine) with inspirational quotes about nature and the Earth. In each photo caption I describe the scene and how I made the shot.
I hope you enjoy this collection…
Quonset hut and flower garden
For thee the wonder-working earth puts forth sweet flowers.
— Lucretius (96-55 B.C., Roman poet)
Golden trees in Colorado
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again.
— Robinson Jeffers
A foggy day at the harbor
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.
— Arthur C. Clarke
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
— Mother Teresa
Nootka lupine and driftwood
There are many paths to a meaningful sense of the natural world.
— Blackfoot saying
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like falling leaves.
— John Muir
Bryce Canyon National Park
I believe a time will come when in greater understanding we shall have no boundaries anymore. We shall call the earth our country; and we shall, by a process of justice and international assemble, distribute unselfishly the goods of the world according to the needs of the people.
— Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi (the one book that stayed with Steve Jobs his entire life)
Daffodil flowers in the round
No matter what you ask of the daffodil, it will still wait until spring to bloom.
We all open up when the time is right.
— Rudy Francisco
And finally, I think Little Planet pictures would make great jigsaw puzzles, don’t you?
Cheers and blessings to you,
P.S. If you have any questions, I’d love to know. Drop me a line in the comments below.
More links and resources for you:
1. As promised, here is a link to a Tiny Planet photos app for iPhones.
2. Kodiak Island, Alaska: Where I live…
Many of my Little Planet photos were taken right here in Kodiak, Alaska. A gorgeous place on yes, this little planet. We host the Cliff House B&B, which is located right on the ocean. Killer whales and sea otters swim by. There is a bald eagle nest two doors down…
3. Want to learn more about Little Planet photography? Here is a techie description on Wikepedia.
4. How to make a Little Planet photos: Tutorial here.
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Marion Owen is a “Jill of all trades,” with 30 years of experience as a teacher and columnist. She’s on a mission to help busy people by condensing topics such as photography, cooking, and organic gardening into bite-size pieces. Get her free 4-page “In Good Light: Photo Tips for Busy People” and feel newly recharged when taking pictures.