Gigapan Week One – plus two days

I extended the rental period of the Gigapan unit to give myself a couple more days with the device. It was also overcast for two days this week, and not particularly photogenic (and then there was the trip to San Jose and back to pick up a Linotype Machine), and then there was class, and office hours, and advising, and heck it has been busy outside!

So, enough excuses! I went out again yesterday afternoon to re-shoot a Gigapan I had made the previous week from Terrace Hill in San Luis Obispo.

This time I got it right!

Last week I used my 16-35 mm wide angle zoom lens, and I captured a stunningly unstunning panorama from the crest of that hill. This time I used my 100-400 Canon telephoto zoom, and set it at 150 mm. The Gigapan made a series of 105 images with that lens, and I stitched them this morning into a Mercator (for print) image. I am also uploading that image to Gigapan’s site. I think this one will be very impressive.

This combination did the trick! My Canon 1ds Mark III and my Canon 100-400 mm zoom lens. I had the lens set to 150mm, and Gigapan Stitch did the rest. The result is an image of about 2GB that is very successful.

After stitching, the image came out at just over 2.0 GB. It had a lot of unnecessary grass along the edges, so I have cropped it for print to just over 1GB. That’s a very large photo, and the detail in it is extraordinary. The sky was a bit hazy, and it was ferociously windy on Terrace Hill yesterday, but the resulting image is very nice. It is what I had hoped the Gigapan would do for me. It just took me a week to figure out how to do it successfully.

Now I feel I have the control over the Gigapan process that I didn’t have last week. It has been a good experience. Despite a couple of missteps, now I know how.

This is a reduced-resolution version of my Gigapan image. This shows the general view, looking northwest from Terrace Hill across San Luis Obispo. In the background are two of our “signature” mountains, Cerro San Luis Obispo (1292 ft.), and Bishop Peak (1546 ft.). Click on the image to visit the Gigapan version online.

Gigapan Stitch 2.0, the software that makes these images into Gigapans, is much faster today than it was during the week. I think it must be easier to stitch telephoto images than wide angles images, or perhaps the software prefers the Saturday morning shift to the Thursday evening shift. In any event, the stitching process took only minutes – maybe 30 – to generate a 2GB photograph.

I’m going to hike back up to Eagle Point to re-shoot my major San Luis Obispo panorama. It’s the one I have been dying to get in extremely high resolution. I’ll post a link to that here when I am finished.

About Brian Lawler

Brian Lawler is an Emeritus Professor of Graphic Communication at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He writes about graphic arts processes and technologies for various industry publications, and on his blog, The Blognosticator.
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