This course is open to the public; you don't have to be enrolled at the university. Next course is November 2003. This is the best time of year to photograph in Highland Guatemala. Places are limited so apply now.

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Digital Panoramic Photography Course in Guatemala
August 2004 in Guatemala

Dr. Hellmuth and Marlon Castillo at Antigua Guatemala doing panorama photography shots.
Dr. Hellmuth and Marlon Castillo at Antigua Guatemala doing panorama photography shots.
Panorama photograph of Lake Atitlan, at FLAAR office in Guatemala
Panorama photograph of Lake Atitlan, at FLAAR office in Guatemala
BetterLight panorama digital camera
Panorama photography digital camera (BetterLight)

Study course on digital panorama photography at Francisco Marroquin University

Preparation for this course by professor Nicholas Hellmuth resulted in some beautiful panorama views of Guatemala City with the volcanos in the background. If you live in Guatemala this is the view you get out of your apartment window every morning.

This panorama photograph is currently displayed at the Popol Vuh Museum across campus from the offices of FLAAR. FLAAR has an office in Guatemala dedicated to large format digital imaging. Ten people are currently employed in this research center.

The BetterLight scan backs were provided thanks to Michael Collete (BetterLight). Two pano head systems and software were also donated to FLAAR by Michael Collette, the inventor of this system. In return FLAAR serves as beta tester for the overall system, a job we have worked on now for five years, especially on the circumferential rollout mode of this innovative digital system.

The course itself is available in English, Spanish, and auf Deutsch.

The FLAAR facilities at Francisco Marroquin University are pictured here. The Popol Vuh Museum of Maya archaeology and the Ixchel Museum of Maya textiles are both on the same campus; they are pictured on

Professor Nicholas Hellmuth will now be offering courses and training on fundamentals of panorama photography including large format digital panorama photography.

This course is unique in that it's an actual professional expedition to do large format digital panoramic photography. Once we photograph this specific area of Guatemala, the course will not likely be repeated.

This is a hands-on courses with limited participation size. We have the top of the line digital panorama camera from BetterLight. If enough people sign up we may add the original Dicomed FieldPro BetterLight Pano system (same system as used by Stephen Johnson to photograph the National Parks) and the Seitz Super RoundShot 70mm - 220 rollfilm panoramic camera.

Students will work in small groups for maximum practice together with an instructor. This course will have no minimum group size. Cutoff group size is 8.

Although it helps to have a knowledge of Photoshop beforehand, under some circumstances we can provide Photoshop training as an additional course concurrent with the panorama course. Training in Photoshop is available separately for introductory into intermediate level or for brush up intermediate course if you already have a bit of knowledge.

This course in panoramic photography is suitable for any individual, of any age or background, who wishes to learn about digital imaging and panoramic photography.

Naturally this course is especially appropriate for architects, photographers, graphic designers, artists, architectural historians, art historians, archaeologists or students of these disciplines.

Dr Nicholas Hellmuth is an architectural historian who specializes in large format photography of ancient Mayan pyramids and buildings throughout Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. This program is sponsored by FLAAR Digital Imaging Resource Center at the Francisco Marroquin University.

The course will take advantage of the natural scenery of Guatemala, especially the tropical beauty of the highland mountains and the volcanic cones which dramatize the skylines in panorama photography. Although we obviously won't do pano photography from an airplane, to see what the landscape looks like, see the area a few miles from the university.

We may also do urban landscapes in the nicest portions of Zone 10, Vista Hermosa, and the airport area to show off the striking modern architecture of this expanding city. Field tRIP´s will include excursions to Antigua, the Spanish colonial ruins about one hour from the city. We will also photograph Lake Atitlan, whose volcano-rimmed shores make it often considered the most beautiful lake in Latin America.

The designations "introduction" and "advanced" explain the nature of this course. Introduction implies that common sense and a good photographic eye are the most useful prerequisites.

"Advanced" means the students will learn the absolute latest technological advances in panorama photography, namely seamless digital photography. A large format digital scan back rotates on a computer-controlled panorama head. One complete vertical pixel column is taken with each "shot." Up to 29,999 pixel columns can be taken in automatic sequence (Adobe Photoshop can't open a digital image larger than 30,000 pixels). The average file is about 280 MB to 600 MB of true optical data (no interpolation).

This course will involve large format inkjet digital printing since the panoramas lend themselves to giant mural-sized enlargements. Indeed the best student and faculty photographs will be offered to large format printer manufacturers for them to consider using these images to showcase the quality of the large format printers at trade shows.

This course is especially suitable for architectural students, architectural historians as well as for anyone wishing to learn digital photography. This course is also suitable for individuals who are already professional photographers as well as hobby photographers who wish to have some experience using professional equipment.

Individuals with considerable interest but less experience are also welcome, indeed they will be offered private instruction in Adobe Photoshop to bring them up to speed.

Dr Hellmuth will give the initial lectures on the overall system and will supervise the training by other instructors. The actual practice sessions will be led by instructors at Francisco Marroquin University who have been using this panoramic camera for two years.Focus will be on visual communications of natural and urban landscapes.

Training programs in digital photography by FLAAR
Introduction to Intermediate Digital Photography
February - May 2005
Introductory to intermediate
Taught in via Internet / Lecture in English
Request information
Course material will all be in English; however you can correspond en español oder auf Deutsch

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