Some of our best-known Wolverhampton landmarks are among the city sights to have been turned into ‘little planets’.
Wolverhampton’s Man on The Horse, Molineux and West Park are among the city sights to have been turned into ‘little planets’.
The unique circular images show the landmarks and their immediate surroundings as miniature planets.
They have been created by Wolverhampton-based photographer Paul Richards.
The 44-year-old, who lives in the city with his wife and four children, is an expert in high dynamic range photography and has used his passion to create these stunning and quirky images.
Mr Richards today said he was ‘born and bred’ in the city and loves creating little planets of its well-known sights and landmarks.
After spending 24 years working as a tyre builder for Goodyear, Mr Richards was made redundant in 2011 and decided to turn his passion for photography into a career.
He enrolled on a course with a professional photographer and spent his first year doing photo shoots, weddings and proms.
But in May 2012, he landed a job with search engine giant Google when he was asked to create virtual tours of people’s businesses, historic buildings and landmarks.
The images form part of Google’s Street View system which lets people go along roads and see buildings from the outside. Except Mr Richards’ work provides the chance for people to go inside the buildings the Google Street View car cannot reach. Places like the Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton have been photographed in this way.
And the little planets have taken the idea even further. Mr Richards said: “Wanting to be different, I started giving businesses a little bit more than just a Google virtual tour and include HDR images and now little planets as extras.
“Each planet is 12 images stitched together using special software and tools including photoshop. This process takes around two hours on the laptop.”
Mr Richards, whose children are aged 19, 17, six and three, said his favourite of the little planets is West Park as it was his first one.
He is looking forward to snow falling over the historic attraction so he can revisit it to create a wintery scene.
He added he will continue to create little planets and is happy to carry out requests if people ask for them. Photography is a far cry from his work at Goodyear.
“I worked at Goodyear for 24 years and had my career change after being made redundant at 41 years old,” he said.
“From Goodyear to Google and from tyre builder to photographer – life begins at 40 as they say.”