Tour Automattic Without Leaving Your House

If you have not had the chance to see Automattic’s new office in downtown San Francisco in person, you’re in luck. You can now take a virtual tour of the Automattic office via Google Maps. Joey Kudish who is an Automattic employee shared the news on his blog. According to Joey, a photographer stopped by, took pictures, and was able to map out the entire building, including the second floor.

The tour starts on the second floor and as noted in the comments, you’ll need to hit the back arrow in order to go down the steps. Notable stops on the journey include the custom shuffle board on the second floor and the mini WordPress museum on the first floor. My favorite image actually has nothing to do with the Automattic office. On the first floor near the entrance, if you look in the direction towards the museum in front of the steel beam, you’ll see a reflection of the the camera stand.

The Walking Camera
Walking Camera?

We know a photographer came into the office and took these photos. But this particular photo has me thinking he used a walking camera to take the photos for him. I only kid. But it sure does look like a walking camera in mid stride.

How Were These Photographs Created?

I got in touch with Alex Schoenfeldt of Scheonfeldt.com who was commissioned by Automattic to find out what type of equipment he used. While Google streetview uses a vehicle with cameras pointing in all directions to generate their panoramic shots, Alex achieves this using one camera. For this job, he used a Canon 5D Mark 2 with a Sigma 8mm fisheye lens. A Nodal Ninja Panoramic head all mounted on a Bogen Tripod. He used a technique called exposure bracketing to piece together the panoramic shots. He starts off pointing the camera in a northward position turning the camera 90 degrees. Three photos are taken for each 90 degree turn. One photo is taken overexposed. The next is underexposed. The last photo is taken with spot on settings. He’s then able to stitch the images together to form one image.

Until I spoke with Alex, I was unaware of the fact that Google Maps has a program in place that will train people on how to run a photography business. Alex completed the training program and is now able to offer photography services to businesses like Automattic. He also has the ability publish those images to Google Maps. It’s an interesting service for photographers and I see no reason why businesses wouldn’t take advantage of it, especially those who are proud of their offices and want to show them off to the world.

What The New Automattic Office Use To Be

By the way, while Google Maps knows where the Automattic office is located, their street view has older images showing the previous building tenants. It used to be a Fairtex location. Fairtex is a manufacturer of combat equipment and clothing for Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts. This should give you a good idea as to the amount of work and renovation that took place prior to Automattic calling this building their new home.

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