Millions of photographs were taken of Barack Obama’s inauguration, but there is no question which is THE SHOT of the historic moment.
That honor belongs to David Bergman’s panorama.
Actually, it is not one shot, but 220 separate shots stitched together with a machine called a Gigapan Imager, a robotic platform for capturing very high-resolution (gigapixel and up) panoramic images from a standard digital camera.
“I covered my first inauguration and what an inauguration it was. Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States in a ceremony on the west front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Before Tuesday, I had photographed five presidents and covered big events including the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and concerts like Live 8 and Live Earth. But this one was the biggest. It deserved a big photo.”
“I made a panoramic image showing the nearly two million people who watched President Obama’s inaugural address. To do so, I clamped a Gigapan Imager to the railing on the north media platform about six feet from my photo position. The Gigapan is a robotic camera mount that allows me to take multiple images and stitch them together, creating a massive image file.”
“My final photo is made up of 220 Canon G10 images and the file is 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels. It took more than six and a half hours for the Gigapan software to put together all of the images on my Macbook Pro and the completed TIF file is almost 2 gigabytes.”
You can use the controls to zoom and pan around the photo.
You can also double click to zoom in and double click again to get even closer and see the scene in amazing detail and clarity.
And you can see close-up the expressions of your favorite — and least favorite — politicians and dignitaries as Obama makes his inaugural address.
(You can make these panorama photos yourself. My cousin, Geoff Fox, a meteorologist for WTNH TV in New Haven, Connecticut, and a gifted amateur photographer, recently made a spectacular panorama of New York’s Grand Central Staton using 51 separate shots.)