Go the Gigapan!

Copyright David Bergman http://www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=17217

At first, this may look like an unassuming photo of President Obama's Inaugural Address.

If you click through to this link of an image taken by David Bergman, you can scroll around the photo, zooming in until you see minute detail - like the distinctive white L-series Canon lenses used by the photographers who are perched on the white scaffolding structure just off centre of the photo, or in the stands virtually right in the centre of the photo. You can even see the faces of people in the crowds - pretty amazing! Click the link - it's a spinout.

I learnt that this is a gigapan - kind of like a panorama photo on steroids. The image you see above is made up of 220 individually captured images, all stitched together in post-production, to form a whopping 1.57 gigapixel image.

From the link above, I started to read about GigaPan, which according to its website is "the newest development of the Global Connection Project, which aims to help us meet our neighbors across the globe, and learn about our planet itself. GigaPan will help bring distant communities and peoples together through images that have so much detail that they are, themselves, the objects of exploration, discovery and wonder."

"GigaPan consists of three technological developments: a robotic camera mount for capturing very high-resolution (gigapixel and up) panoramic images using a standard digital camera; custom software for constructing very high-resolution gigapixel panoramas; and, a new type of website for exploring, sharing and commenting on gigapixel panoramas and the detail our users will discover within them.

The GigaPan website allows hosting and sharing all kinds of panoramas, and so the robotic GigaPan mount is recommended but is certainly not required to be part of this community."

The GigaPan site has all sorts of cool mega-photos that you can zoom in and look around - the most popular images, as currently ranked by the GigaPan community are of Dubai,  Hanauma Bay in Hawaii, a Macedonian landscape and this image above of the Presidential Address.

My mind boggles at what technology makes possible - and I'm guessing, the computing power required to stitch together 220 images. My little laptop grinds to a halt now when I use some of the more complex Photoshop actions.

Computing power aside, I reckon it's cool. Maybe I can convince Santa to buy me a GigaPan Panohead - like I need more camera gear! :)

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