The Big Picture

Jan 28, 2009 11:50am

Take a look at this panorama of Barack Obama’s inaugural address last week — but don’t linger on our little thumbnail version for long. Instead, take a look at the picture HERE. (I hope, though, that you’ll read first, so you have an idea of what this is about.) Use the controls on the left side of the image, or just double-click, to zoom in.  And in.  And in.  Use your cursor to move around the picture.  (You’ll need for Java to be in good working order on your machine, and the image may take a moment to load.)  The detail is enough that you can find Yo-Yo Ma, who performed just before the swearing-in, taking a picture of the scene with his iPhone. David Bergman, a New York-based photographer who covered the inauguration for Corbis Images, used a system called Gigapan to take the shot — or shots, to be more precise.  "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," he writes on his blog.  "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."  NASA has been sending around the link to the image, pointing out that Gigapan is derived from technology used for images from the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.  Most of the best vistas from the rovers (see a selection HERE), like Mr. Bergman’s, are stitched together by computer from many smaller images.  Poke around Bergman’s image, if you have all afternoon, and you’ll find all sorts of familiar faces.  Bergman, surprised by the response the picture has gotten, sent me a few notes he added to his blog overnight: "Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is not sleeping.
President Bush is not sending a text message.
Yes, Oprah Winfrey is blocked by a camera tower.
We’re still looking for Waldo. "Just wanted to clear that up."

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