Panoramas of classic power-plant control rooms

Hydroelectric Power Plant, Mirejovice - Control Room Gigapixel in Czech Republic

Jeffrey sez, "I've got two fantastic power plants to show you, in 360 spherical photography. First let's travel back to the 1950's or so. Photographed by our member Noel Jenkins, he says, "The control room of the substation at Lea Marston, Warwickshire, is the only surviving building following the demolition of the three coal fired power stations that made up the huge Hams Hall power station complex. The building has been badly damaged by vandals, though the superb roof can still be appreciated. Please note that the building is not accessible at present. Next, let's travel back to 1918 or so, to this remarkably steampunk-ish control room which is still in full operation! This one is a bit under one gigapixel. You can REALLY zoom in."

(Thanks, Jeffrey!)


  1. And of course the room pictured above is haunted by the Ghost of the Control Room, clearly visible in the doorway.

    Legend has it that he worked at the power plant from the day it opened, until one fateful day, many years later, when he retired on a civil service pension and took up gardening.

  2. Sadly inevitable and typical that the British one should be vandalised! Failing vandalism by kids we get corporate government sponsored vandalism like that at Battersea Power Station

    1. Actually the Battersea control rooms are in mint condition! Fair point about the way the rest of the site has been treated though.

  3. These panoramas are amazing. I work in a much more modern control room and it is interesting to see how things like alarm management and system overviews have developed. The British unit looks like it was modified several times and they even put in an overview mimic bus in the back. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t put breaker indication lights on their panels during a mod–that would have helped a lot. I’m guessing that one of the panels that was pulled out might have been their alarm console, which is a pity. The Czech unit is really interesting in how absolutely minimal it is. Alarm management appears to be just two panels with horns and a couple of lights. There is no mimic, bus this plant is classy! I absolutely love how the sychroscope is displayed.

  4. Lovely indeed. Of course this is very much of the period which inspired steampunk, or perhaps just a bit later (dieselpunk?), when gauges and controls were big and analog and were designed for elegance as well as efficiency.

    I’d be interested in knowing how these were shot. I’m betting on something like a Volpi anamorphic lens, rather than stitching of separate images…

  5. These panoramas are great. It probably won’t be long before we can move in and around objects in a virtual 3D environment, open doors, etc. (Yeah, yeah – its probably here, I just haven’t seen it.)

    As an online experience, it reminds me of the scene in Bladerunner where Decker searches Zora’s apartment by extrapolating the ray-traced lighting and reflections in a photo.

  6. That Czech plant is RAD! I WANT ONE!

    For what – hell, I dunno – to operate my garage door opener – I don’t care, I want one.

  7. If you really wanna trip, right click on the image and switch to Little Planet view. It’d be nice if they let you hide the cursor and export movies.

  8. How is that Steampunk? Just because it has lots of weird large analogue displays, brass fittings, brass manually turned wheels, strange Victorian looking horns and other Victorianesque inspired technology doesn’t make it Steampunk.

    Steampunk has to have all these things as well as studded leather and safety pin nose piercings.

  9. Hi,

    Thanks everybody for the nice comments :-) I’ll answer a couple of questions here.

    Technogeek (#9), you said “I’m betting on something like a Volpi anamorphic lens, rather than stitching of separate images…”

    Actually both of these are stitched panoramas. All the panoramas (as far as I know, anyway) on are made by stitching multiple photos together. Volpi anamorphic lenses only have a 60 degree vertical field of view, so it’s not really possible to use them for fully spherical images such as these. You can read more about that stuff here – []

    In the case of the Czech power plant shown here, it was done in 66 shots, using a canon 5d mk2 and a contax tessar 45mm lens. I have a robot to help me with such stuff, although I have also done it hand-held, as in this example:

    If anyone wants to see more LARGE panoramas, you can see more gigapixels here – There is also my largest image to date which is 18 gigapixels in size and you can see that here:

    If you’re interested in making this type of photography yourself, it’s getting easier and easier. It is best to use a fisheye lens + dSLR which lets you make a fully spherical image in only 4 or 5 shots. The best deal for a fisheye is the Samyang 8mm (also rebranded as vivitar 7mm, falcon, bower, and others). You can read more about getting started with panoramic photography here:

    cheers, and enjoy!
    Jeffrey Martin

    1. Incredible! The detail in the Prague panorama is utterly amazing. How many shots would that have been made from?

      I enjoyed finding a man who’s feet mysteriously fade to nothing where the photos obviously been stitched! Apart from him I couldn’t find anything that even looked like a seam.

  10. I was absolutely floored when I went fullscreen, zoomed in, and saw such minute detail revealed. This is the closest I’ve seen technology come to delivering the experience of actually being somewhere.

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