Top of Dulles State Office Building Panorama, Highest Building in Watertown, NY

Dulles State Office Building

The other day a customer asked me about doing a virtual reality panorama shot of their office to make their clients more comfortable.  It got me thinking about my panorama website, which I had created years ago and have never updated, nor even looked at in years in fact.

For awhile I was creating panoramas of all sorts;and coding them into formats for displaying them on my website; really two separate things.  I learned a lot about photography and panoramas as well as Quicktime and a little more about Java.

Now Java has fallen well out of favor for this kind of programming due to security problems (though it’s fundamental in the creation of Android apps), and Quicktime for Windows is defunct.  Needless to say the panoramas on my site were unwatchable, and it all makes me think about how just ten or so years ago I was using some pretty cool coding and software which now is mostly dead.

So anyway…  I had done a few pretty nice panoramas, at least I thought they were at the time.  But just like with the programming technology that I was using – the photos now seem slightly out of date with lower resolution than I would wish and lack of modern sharpness.  Oh, I wish I had my Canon Rebel at the time!

One of my favorites was the Dulles State Office Building pano, but after a little more processing of the original photos that make up the panorama I found that I could do little better than the previously finished pano image.  So some of the panoramas, like the Dulles one, I am stuck with as there is not much of a way to reproduce some of  them.  Others, like the one of Watertown Public Square – I can easily go and redo (once the weather gets better) but the below panorama from the top of the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown would be much harder to do over again, because of the nature of security for government buildings as well as needing the right contacts who would allow me to do another one, etc.

The Dulles State Office Building was built on Washington Street in 1970. It was named for John Foster Dulles, a Watertown native who served as Secretary of State to Dwight Eisenhower.  As my friend Roman from Canada reminds me; Dulles was much more than the preceding quick description – you can read much more about him on the wikipedia entry.  

The Dulles State Office Building houses New York State government offices for the northwest region of New York State.  The building’s auditorium and lobby are host to many public and private functions throughout the year, including dances, symphony concerts and some notable yearly events, such as the Watertown Goes Green Irish Festival.  This adjoining auditorium, which has 800 seats, was used for the Miss New York State Pageant until 2005, when the pageant was moved to Long Island.

The eleven story building is Watertown’s tallest structure.  So I jumped at the chance when a friend, who knew the building manager at the time, offered to contact the manager about taking me to the top for a panorama.  Again, I wish I had had a better camera at the time.  

After an elevator ride to the roof we had to climb a short ladder from the regular roof to a section on top that seemed to house the air conditioning units and such.  This was the absolute highest point on the building (not including the antennas and lights).

It was an awesome sight up at the top, in a way similar to what you see from Thompson Park and State Street Hill but surrounded by the city itself.  With a view of the lake in the distance and several the hilly regions of Jefferson County, NY and of course, towering over the city itself.  In one corner of the top section of the building there was also a nest, which the building manager told me had been occupied for a number of years.

The shots for this pano were taken in the Spring of 2003.

So without further ado here is the panorama I have – and it is a fairly large panorama so give it time to load, it can be slow.





WordPress Technical Note

Displaying this panorama consists of some loading and configuring some Javascript code as well as inserting the Javascript’s special command for embedding the panorama.  
If you’ve been using WordPress for very long you’ll know that you can put Javascript code in using WordPress editor’s ‘Text’ tab but if you switch back and forth between that tab and the ‘Visual’ tab the code usually either gets garbled or completely taken out. So it’s generally not a good idea.  
Sure, you can ONLY use the Text tab and try to remember to not switch back and forth but who wants to do that?  And occasionally just saving your page or blog post will break the code.
So I used the Code Embed plugin from David Artiss.  This allows you to insert your Javascript (and many other things including custom HTML) into WordPress’ Custom Fields and use a custom code to embed that code from the Custom Field into your document – all without WordPress messing with the code.  You can load the Javascript itself (if it’s more than a few lines that you want to type in) from anywhere else of course.
Works great, check it out if you have the need.  An excellent plugin.

Marc M

I am a web developer and fitness geek, but I have a heck of a lot of differing interests.  Biking, the Internet, technology, movies, fitness, running and walking and hiking, science fiction, photography, graphics, WordPress, flying and aircrafts, pets and animals, history, and much more.  I like to stay very fit but I don’t mind sitting at my computer for work and play either.  I live in upstate New York (that’s far from New York City) in a rural area, yet close to a small city, with my beautiful awesome wife, a bunch of beloved cats and dogs and chickens in a very old multi-century house.

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