Incan stonework in one direction, stepped agricultural terraces in another: Your eyes lock on the mountains surrounding Machu Picchu, and at last you’ve found peace and quiet. Then you’re ready to move on. You click on Antarctica, choose a region, and zoom in. Suddenly you’re standing on an iceberg in the middle of a group of playful Adélie penguins on rocky, volcanic Franklin Island (above right).
The 360° World Atlas DVD lets anyone with a computer become a virtual hitchhiker, no packing or neck-craning required. Creator Everen Brown does all the hard work for you. He jets around the globe, lugging a 40-pound bag full of 600 rolls of film past airport security, and picks a picture-worthy spot. Then he takes one of the world’s last Globuscope rotational cameras (no longer in production), holds it over his head (sometimes he lies on his stomach), and waits (sometimes for hours) for the right shot. When he sees it, snapping the picture takes only a second. The lens rotates full circle, so you get to see what’s across from the Taj Mahal’s minarets too. Once Brown develops the film, he embeds the images into an interactive atlas ($69.95, www.360atlas.com) that shows off head-turning views, panorama style.