Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Zooming into history

"The Inauguration of President Obama," David Bergman

OK, OK, he's inaugurated already, so why am I showing you this corny low rez postcard? Because I can't upload the 59,783 X 24,658 pixels (1,474 megapixel) Gigapan file it comes from. After it has been stitched together by software, the final TIF of this image is over 2 GB. You really must see this.

Use the controls to see if you can find Clarence Thomas snoozing behind the newly sworn-in President. Or (harder) find Yo Yo Ma taking a photo with his iPhone. For those of you who want the tech explanation, it's here on photographer David Bergman's blog (my favorite fact -- this pic was made with a Canon G10).

I'm way too tired to write tonight about the implications -- pro & con -- of such technology. Or for that matter, about the artistic possibilities. But, remembering the magisterial slow pans Ken Burns did over incredibly detailed prints of cast-of-thousands' Civil War scenes made from large-format glass negatives exposed by Matthew Brady and others, I did come up with the shot below of Abraham Lincoln's 2nd inaugural address by way of comparison. I don't doubt there were better photos made of that scene, but still...

"Lincoln's second inaugural," Photographer unknown

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