If you’ve read any of our past blogs, or spent some time scrolling through the Giroptic Share Gallery, you probably got the message loud and clear: nature in 360° is awesome! But considering that 74% of the developed world’s population resides in urban areas, we want to make sure you city dwellers don’t feel left out!

Typical Nature in 360° : Central Park Zoo

If you do live in a city, chances are you probably have some type of nearby urban nature worth checking out and capturing in 360°. Maybe not a park as simultaneously expansive and center-citied as Manhattan’s Central Park above, but hopefully at least a bit of green space to play with.

In this article, we’re going to look at some examples of what makes for great urban nature shots, as well as an example or two of the contrary.


Niagara Falls

Why not get started with a video? Above, we have a crisp view of the world-famous Niagara Falls. Generally, we consider focusing on a far-off object as not ideal for 360°, but because these falls are so massive this user just manages to pull the shot off. Now, since most of you probably don’t have a raging waterfall ripping through your town, we’ll move on…


Venice Beach Skate Park

This is probably one of my favorite spots southern California, and I don’t even skate! This shot has everything needed to make a great 360° image: gnarly landscape (thanks to the skate pool), an eclectic group of people in an open setting, a natural aspect (palm trees), and a beautifully sunlit horizon. As far as urban nature goes, this locale is perhaps a stretch of the definition, but it certainly has all the ingredients of a fantastic 360° image.


Como Zoo

Zoos are tricky, and I’ll tell you why. Although the above shot, taken at Como Zoo in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is nice enough, let’s see what happens when we try to get an animal in the frame.


Capturing Animals at Zoos is Hard!

Do you see a monkey in that shot? Well, believe it or not, there is one. Unfortunately, we’re not able to get close enough to catch him with the Giroptic iO’s fisheye lens. The iO was made for immersion, and unfortunately most zoos don’t provide immersive opportunities. But let’s give it another shot. Maybe with a larger animal, like an American Bison.


Fence and a Buffalo

This one’s not so bad! Except we’ve got a stinking fence in the way. Continue watching until the end to see my way of getting around this ; )


Twin Giraffes

In the end, the best way for us to get up close to the animal attractions was to cheat a little. No, the giraffes in the above photo are not real. But the little monkeys collecting dinosaur eggs in the picture below are as genuine and wild as they come!


Wild Monkeys Collecting Dinosaur Eggs

As you can see, what makes urban nature shots turn out great is a combination of two important elements: we need something interesting up close (immersion) plus something scenic in the background.


Montreal Botanical Garden

In addition to parks and zoos, if you’re lucky, maybe you live in a city that has its own botanical garden (Montreal…). These natural spaces, often smack dab in the middle of an urban area, offer some great photo ops that almost make it seem as if you are deep in the middle of nature. Just for fun, see if you can spot the koi fish in the image above. 


Tamarack Nature Center

So as you can see, the Giroptic iO is a handy tool to have on your trips into wilderness as well as your urban adventures. As long as you follow our general guidelines for 360° image capturing (get high, get open, get up close and immersive), you’ll have no trouble pulling off some incredible shots.