Last week we had the privilege of skiing at Sunshine Village, near Banff, Alberta. When you’re in the Rockies, you can’t help but be awed by the breathtaking vistas and the majesty of the mountains.

Photos don’t truly do justice to the scale of the landscape, though I have tried on various occasions.

Panoramic photography takes the viewer’s experience a bit further. Though panos aren’t new by any measure, the standard for cheap/easy/portable panoramic photography was recently elevated with the introduction of the Galileo-compatible Sphere app for iPhone. On my last day at Sunshine, the visibility was decent and I was fully prepared with a Galileo in my backpack. Rather, I thought I was prepared.

When the sky was clear and the sun just so, I skied to the best vantage point I could with a slight elevation from which to shoot. In this case, it was a snowbank. I had a little ziplock bag to keep the Galileo out of the snow. With cold bare hands, I started the process, retrieving my iPhone, plugging it into the Galileo, touching the appropriate icons, stepping back, then watching the little gizmo point the camera up, then slightly down, then further down, and slooooooowly grind to a halt.

motrrHere is a picture of my Galileo sitting on the hill after both its battery and the phone’s went completely dead, before completing even 45 degrees of rotation.

I had used the Galileo to shoot three panos on that charge. I guess a fourth pano in cold weather was too much to ask. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to bring my GoPuck power pack with me in my backpack, though I did have one back at the car.

I skied out to the vast parking lot, hiked out the thirty-five rows of vehicles in my Nordicas and retrieved the GoPuck from a bag in the rental car. First thing was to plug the iPhone and Galileo into the power pack so they could start charging as I trekked back, took the 10 minute gondola ride back to the village ski lifts, lined up for the Angel Express quad and rode up the mountain to try again.

When I found a suitable spot on which to prop the little pano rig, I set up. This time I left everything plugged into the power pack, and it got through a 360° rotation. Fingers crossed, I watch the iPhone process and stitch the image for about a minute… Success!

This selfie was the only pano I had time to make, because I wanted to get some skiing in, after all. Next time I try this, here’s what I’ll be doing:

  • Start with a full charge on Galileo and iPhone
  • Keep the iPhone turned off ’til I need it (there’s no signal on the mountain, anyway.)
  • Bring a fully charged GoPuck
  • Keep my phone close to my body to keep its battery warm
  • Insulate the power pack and Galileo and maybe even wrap a disposable heat pack in with them
  • Bring a small tripod to keep the Galileo off of heat-sapping surfaces while shooting

Hopefully, I’ll be skiing someplace interesting again soon!