AirPano is a not-for-profit project created by a team of Russian photo enthusiasts focused on taking high-resolution aerial panoramic photographs. Although we usually photograph from a helicopter, we also like to shoot from an airplane, a dirigible, a hot air balloon, and a radio-controlled helicopter. Today AirPano is the largest resource in the world – by geographical coverage, number of aerial photographs, and artistic and technical quality of the images — featuring 360° panoramas of the highest quality shot from a bird's eye view.
During next two years AirPano will create aerial photo panoramas and virtual tours of the most significant places of the world. There are nearly 1500 aerial panoramas on our website showing over 150 famous locations of our planet, including North Pole, Antarctica, Mariana Trench, and even the Earth's view from the stratosphere. New virtual tours are published on www.Airpano.com every week.
Unlike viewing a traditional photograph limited by its frame, or watching a film that follows its director's idea, a spherical panorama gives you a freedom of being on location, where you can turn around 360° and have a closer look at every detail.
When viewed on a large screen the panorama technology creates a complete illusion of a personal presence on the spot, it makes you feel as if you are in the sky above New York City, underwater, above the raging waterfall, and even inside a microwave oven. You can take time to move in closer and study interesting objects, or "fly" to a new place by simply moving your hand. Although there is a downside that nothing can be touched, but we are working on it :)
In 2012 AirPano project won "RuNet Awards 2012" contest. In 2013 we received a grant from Russian Geographic Society (RGO) for further development of the project. Russian President V. V. Putin personally presented the grant to our colleague Sergey Semenov. AirPano photographs and panoramas were published in "National Geographic", "GEO", "Der Spiegel", "Daily Mail", and many other publications on multiple occasions. Year after year we continue winning numerous international and national photo contests. In 2013 AirPano team took first 5 prizes in "Epson International Pano Awards 2013" contest in "360 Virtual Reality" category.
These events are covered in our News section in detail.
The authors of this project are: Oleg Gaponyuk, Andrey Zubetz, Dmitry Moiseenko, Mike Reyfman, Ivan Roslyakov, Sergey Rumyantsev, Stanislav Sedov and Sergey Semenov.
Born in 1970. Currently lives in Moscow, Russia.
I graduated from State Nuclear Research Institute "MEPhI" (Moscow Institute of Engineering and Physics) with major in engineering and applied mathematics. My hobbies include photography (especially photo panoramas), skiing, windsurfing, kiting, scuba diving, playing guitar and a keyboard, PocketPC, computers, jokes, tequila and world travel… I am ready to travel to the other side of the world for a good picture. My sense of humor helps me see fun and unique side of every situation; and I won't even mention the degree in which tequila helps me!
My photographs are available for viewing here and here
Born in 1962. Currently lives in Moscow, Russia.
I graduated from Saint Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television. I love photography, computer technologies and designing new gadgets. Few years ago I got interested in panoramic photography, especially in spherical panoramas. I published a series of articles in Russian to promote this unique photography style on the edge of fine art and technology.
I patented the method of photographing multi-row spherical panoramas without a tripod or a panorama head. I enjoy designing and building devices for shooting panoramic photographs. Currently Oleg Gaponyuk, my friend and colleague, uses my gadgets, methods and know-hows for traditional photography, as well as for shooting panoramas from the ground and from air.
Lately I have been mostly involved in researching, assembling and publishing panoramas with the use of Flash technology. In my opinion, this technology is one of the most progressive methods of processing and viewing spherical panoramas and virtual tours.
Born in 1983.
My first conscious acquaintance with photography happened in 2003, when a simple digital 1.3Mp hand-held camera landed in my hands. I was highly impressed with the fact that a photo appeared on a screen right away! After that I became a fan of photography and dedicated all my spare time to it. I graduated with honors in International Economy, and spent 7 years working as an economist in International Business Affairs field. However, the crisis changed everything for me: my office file turned into home and travels; my business suit turned into a fleece jacket; my leather case became a camera bag; my office notebook transformed into a desktop computer with two enormous screens; and Excel and SAP software got replaced with Adobe Photoshop ;)
I find inspiration in romantic beauty of Northern America National Parks; mountains of Patagonia; glacier lagoons of Iceland; sand dunes of Sahara desert; and jungles of Brazil as well as in irresistible energy of big cities.
I joined AirPano.com to share my photographs with those who can't travel due to different reasons. This is exactly how I see AirPano's mission — to show the most beautiful places of our planet to the public in a way nobody did before: from a bird's-eye view, with an ability to move and look around freely.
You can find my photos on my website www.SergeSemenov.com and here
Born in 1974
As it often happens, a degree one earns in a University doesn't always guarantee the same professional placement.
I graduated from a Medical University as a specialist in Medical Cybernetics. I tried to apply my knowledge in science; however, "free market" conditions of that time didn't help finding financial support for my projects. This brought me to website development and programming, which, in turn, took me to New Zealand. This is where I found my interest in landscape photography...
Breathtaking nature of New Zealand inspired me to further develop my photography skills. Since that time, my camera always travels with me, no matter where I go, and I look at the world through a viewfinder. Hundreds of film rolls, thousands of images, and over hundred thousand kilometers on the road made me the photographer I am now. My photographs got noticed. Many image stocks, publications and advertisement agencies started purchasing my images. Along with classical landscapes I also enjoy shooting street life and city architecture. However, it was my love of panoramas that brought me to AirPano project.
Although photography remains my favorite hobby, I dedicate a lot of time and attention to panoramas. I also write articles about photo and video for various Russian publications. I take part in different projects and participate in national and international photo contests and competitions, brining home prizes on a regular basis.
My selected works are available here and here.
Born in 1966 in Kaliningrad (Konigsberg) near Baltic sea, Russia.
Like many others before me, I started my career in photography in a middle school photo studio. I shot with "Smena 8М" camera, kept my photo enlarger in the bathroom and took part in regional school photo contests.
I left Konigsberg, the most Western city of Russia, and moved to the capital to study Bio Chemistry in one of Moscow universities; later on I also graduated from an International Law school.
Koyaanisqatsi, the movie by Godfrey Reggio, became a turning point for me. At that moment I thought that these incredible and extremely beautiful landscapes were shot all over the world... And so I promised myself to see them all with my own eyes.
I spent 2002 and 2003 working for NTV broadcasting company, running "Journey To Far Away" TV show. Running a business was easy comparing to what I had to do for the show: I was a travel planner, a videographer, an anchor, a journalist, a video editor, a scriptwriter, and a host, telling stories about my travel adventures for the audience on air!
It took me several years before I could touch a video camera again. Nikon D70 was a digital solution to my struggle, and it opened a new chapter in my life. Well-respected publications, like National Geographic Traveler (Russia), Photodelo and Stolichny Style magazines, began to publish my articles and photos of exotic countries. As an NG correspondent, I also was a regular guest on "Domestic" TV channel talking about my traveling.
Having documented more than 60 countries on film and on microphone, I now continue globetrotting with a camera backpack, which gets heavier and heavier with an aerial photography gear.
You can see my selected works here
Born in 1961 in Kharkov, Ukraine.
I graduated the Art College, specialization — portrait, then graduated the architectural faculty of the Institute. The first my teacher was the father who was in love with photography. He made everything himself ending with color film development. It was the time when in my native Kharkov they were not be able to make it professionally even in the laboratories. So, I have known "the chemistry of the process" since I was a child. I have both known and loved it.
During the period of Perestroika together with the partners I founded a small printing business which then was transformed into the largest printery in Eastern Ukraine. The need in a creative self-expression, the ardor for photography and travels "to the ends of the earth" finally won and, having left the beneficiary business, I could drastically change my life. It was a complicated but well-timed and right decision. Together with my wife Margarita we opened and are efficiently developing the advertising agency. The numerous advertising campaigns were created and realized on the basis of my photos and concepts. My publications appeared in photo and travel magazines. I began to take part and win in the international contests and exhibitions.
I travel much, organize and lead photo-expeditions for the people like me addicted to photography. When the right chosen place, beautiful light and ideal moment find each other, the photo is born. The most important is to find this place, get the light at last and do not miss the moment.
It seems to me sometimes I'm able to do this or I am wrong, perhaps. The judges are you — the Viewers!
Author's site: www.mikereyfman.com
Born in 1976. Currently lives in Istra, Moscow Region, Russia.
My childhood dream was to become a pilot. I became a software engineer instead. Later in life my dreams relapsed getting me into piloting radio controlled devices. By the way, for my new hobby I chose one of the least known and most complicated fields — radio controlled helicopters. Being self-taught I don't remember how many helicopters I crashed before I realized that flying just for my friends' amusement was not enough.
One time I came across a website of a company that shot every other Hollywood blockbuster's aerial scene. This gave a new — and practical as well! - angle to my hobby. I wanted to learn how to shoot photo and video with my radio-controlled helicopter. It didn't happen overnight. Satisfactory results took 3 years of experiments with different structural designs.
In spring of 2010 Oleg Gaponyuk proposed to try shooting my first spherical panorama with my RC helicopter. To our surprise, after three photo sessions AirPano team managed to put together a virtual photo tour of Moscow City. Unfortunately, our flights were postponed for a while due to the helicopter's breakdown.
In the beginning of 2011 Oleg invited me to join AirPano team to explore new technical solutions of shooting spherical photo panoramas. I hope that the project will benefit from my knowledge and experience, reaching new angles and locations that are impossible to get with a large helicopter.
I write about shooting aerial photography from radio-controlled devices in my personal blog (http://rccam.livejournal.com). Here you can also see some "traditional" photos of our work process.
I was born in 1983
After completing my degree in civil engineering at Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU), I devoted next 8 years my life to the successful development of domestic heat supply, heating, and ventilation.
During several years of travel I visited dozens of largest cities in Russia and abroad. Every business trip I went I always had my camera with me. My favorite photo shoot themes were not just cities with their neighborhoods and attractions, but also aerial views from the airplane side window that I took on my way to work and back home.
Also, back when I was a student, I was very passionate about snowboarding. This passion inevitably led me to the mountains where 10 years ago, for the first time in my life, I took camera in my hands and started doing serious photography. Incredible mountain scenery greatly contributed to the development of my passion for photography. Combining my yearning for high mountains and "high" art, I tried to take pictures of some of the most interesting mountain regions of the world.
All these photo stories and many more can be viewed here
Being on the front line of an engineering field, I also tracked all the latest developments and technologies in photography. No wonder I started experimenting with panoramic photography and learned to shoot in almost any environment: on the ground, under water, at night, and in other special conditions.
Just over a year ago the passion for panoramic photography led me to a unique AirPano project. I hope that all efforts put in making of our virtual air travels will meet your and our friends' expectations.