Hemispherical photograph used to study microclimate of winter roosting habitat at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Mexico.
Hemispherical photography, also known as fisheye or canopy photography, is a technique to estimate solar radiation and characterize plant canopy geometry using photographs taken looking upward through an extreme wide-angle lens (Rich 1990). Typically, the viewing angle approaches or equals 180-degrees, such that all sky directions are simultaneously visible. The resulting photographs record the geometry of visible sky, or conversely the geometry of sky obstruction by plant canopies or other near-ground features. This geometry can be measured precisely and used to calculate solar radiation transmitted through (or intercepted by) plant canopies, as well as to estimate aspects of canopy structure such as leaf area index. Detailed treatments of field and analytical methodology have been provided by Paul Rich (1989, 1990) and Robert Pearcy (1989).
1 History of Hemispherical Photography
2 Applications of Hemispherical Photography
3 Theory of Hemispherical Photography
3.1 Solar Radiation Calculations
3.2 Canopy Calculations
5.1 Photograph acquisition
6 See also
History of Hemispherical Photography
The hemispherical lens (also known as a fisheye or whole-sky lens) was originally designed by Robin Hill (1924) to view the entire sky for meteorological studies of cloud formation. Foresters and ecologists conceived of using photographic techniques to study the light environment in forests by examining the canopy geometry. In particular, Evans and Coombe (1959) estimated sunlight penetration through forest canopy openings by overlaying diagrams of the sun track on hemispherical photographs. Later, Margaret Anderson (1964, 1971) provided a thorough theoretical treatment for calculating the transmission of direct and diffuse components of solar radiation through canopy openings using hemispherical photographs. At that time hemispherical photograph analysis required tedious manual scoring of overlays of sky quadrants and the track of the sun. With the advent of personal computers, researchers developed digital techniques for rapid analysis of hemispherical photographs (Chazdon and Field 1987, Rich 1988, 1989, 1990, Becker et al. 1989). In recent years, researchers have started using digital cameras in fav