As I have blogged before, I like taking the odd picture - and I'm also a bit of a sucker for technology and gadgetry.
As a consequence, the new toys from Microsoft Research are right up my street. Firstly, their ICE tool - or Image Composite Editor - just requires you to upload a series of adjacent images and it lovingly stitches them together to form a panoramic view. Most people probably have a similar tool in their photo editing software, but I have found the results from ICE fairly impressive, neatly blending the edges and smoothing the joins. It reacts better to more detailed images, where it can clearly detect and line up the joins - had a couple of more variable results with scenic views. Nevertheless, it rewards a bit of persistence. It would be nice to have the ability to manually tweak the results but at the "free" price point, it seems somehow churlish to be whinging.
The embedded thing above is the result of a combination of using ICE and also the MS Photosynth site - it requires Silverlight if you are having trouble seeing it.
Photosynth allows you to take your ICE creations and to upload them (and link to Bing Maps) to allow all and sundry to whizz round your photos in a manner reminiscent of Google Streetview. All very flashy and rather pleasing when you have a nice picture to start with.
I have used a few old pictures I took last year from Scrabo to illustrate but I also have a notion to take a series of pictures from the inside of a competition circle of pipers and drummer which I think might prove very effective (doubtless it has been done before, but don't shatter my illusions).
There seem to be relatively few Photosynth images uploaded from Northern Ireland onto Bing, so get out there and get snapping and stitching.