Harald Joergens Photography

Narrow Boat SWALLOW Virtual Tour at the BCLM

Historic narrow boat SWALLOW, with owner David Lowe, at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, West Midlands, UK

The clients are David Lowe, the owner of historic narrowboat Swallow, and the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, West Midlands, one of the finest and largest open-air museums in the United Kingdom.

"Harald Joergens was an absolute pleasure to work with. He knew exactly what he wanted to achieve and how to achieve it, and the result has, by far, exceeded my expectations. The virtual tour he created for the website of my historic narrow boat Swallow will surely attract a lot of visitors, and explain an old working boat in a modern and most entertaining way. I'm thrilled with the result of Harald's work!"
David Lowe (Owner of narrow boat Swallow)

The virtual tour was made to showcase a historic narrow boat from the outside and inside, to show the living conditions of the boatmen and their families, and to show this historic narrow boat within the context of the museum, in an environment reflecting the time when the canals were the motorways of the time. Although today "narrowboat" is more commonly used, in the days of the working boats a narrowboat was always called a "narrow boat"!
The panorama is on the front page of the narrow boat Swallow website.

Explore the engine room and start the engine, experience the cabin by day and night, and stand at the tiller of the boat

Equipment used:

  • Canon 5D Mark II with Really Right Stuff L-Plate
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens
  • Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head and Multi-Row Pano Elements Package
  • Really Right Stuff carbon fibre monopod with MH-01 Pro momopod head for nadir shots
  • Notebook computer with remote camera control software

How it was done: All photography inside the boat has been done with the camera remotely controlled via a laptop computer. The main challenges has been the unexpected sunshine and the gusty wind, moving the boat relative to the land and to the other boats:

With the camera in a fixed position to the boat, any boat movement meant a slight change of the scenarion outside the boat. All the photos have to be stitched together, with only the boat itself as a useable reference.

To have every detail in focus, from the closest to the lens to the furthest (almost infinite), focus stacking has been used. All photography has been done with available light only, using exposure bracketing. The combination of focus stacking and exposure bracketing means a large number of photos:

The resulting photos have been processed using focus stacking software. The resulting images have been edited, then stitched together, edited again, and then turned into a spherical panorama.

Because of the extreme contrasts between the relaively dark interior and the bright sunshine outside, exposure bracketing had to be used, and all the images cobined from focus stacking have been processed in HDR (High Dynamic Range) to compress the brightest and darkest parts.

Technical information:
This interactive panorama exists in two different versions: If HTML5 is supported by the browser, the HTML5 version will be used. In case HTML5 is not supported, and the Adobe Flash player is installed, the Flash vesrion will be usd.

Narrow boat Swallow:
Swallow was built in 1934 by W.J. Yarwood & Sons of Northwich for W.H. Cowburn & Cowpar Ltd. in Manchester.

She carried general cargoes - mainly carboys of acid, drums of acetone, oils, plus bagged lime and salt. There is more information on the Swallow history website!

The refurbishment of Swallow was supported by National Historic Ships. Details and photos can be found on her registration page.
The refurbishment of Swallow was supported by National Historic Ships


  • David Lowe, the owner of Swallow, for all his help in setting up the environment for the photography, and for all the explanations and extra still images
  • Black Country Living Museum, for their support and help

Subscribe to the Panoramas Newsletter

* indicates required
I'm interested in panoramas...