1.25.10 A Look at the "Big Picture"

The world's largest photograph doesn't capture the sprawling expanse of a city or the peaceful tranquility of sunrise over the ocean; rather, it records an unlikely scene composed of "a dilapidated air-traffic control tower, an overgrown runway and palm trees clustered amid rolling hills." During July of 2006, a group of photographers created a massive camera obscura in a decommissioned Marine Corps air hangar as a part of the Legacy Project in Irvine, California. Fabric measuring "33 by 111 feet" was covered in "20 gallons of light-sensitive emulsion" and exposed to light (which entered the hangar through a gum ball sized hole in the buildings door) for a number of days; the fabric was then developed in a tub of "200 gallons of black-and-white developer solution and 600 gallons of fixer." The photograph captured and preserved the layout of the base (where plans were unfolding to develop the land into a park, sports complex, and residential housing area); in this way, the world's largest photograph both made history and recorded it. The above photo displays the inverted image created on the canvas with the photographers involved in the project.

The photograph produced by the Legacy Project is the largest single exposure ever created; it is interesting to note that most of the images which are claimed to be the largest are often produced by stitching numerous smaller images together. The Gigapixel Dresden, created in December of 2009, combines "1655 overlapping 21.6 megapixel images" to produce a highly detailed panoramic view of the city of Dresden, Germany. Photographing the array of images took roughly three hours, and the synthesis of the images into a single photo required nearly four days. The final product (shown above with considerably less clarity) was 102 gigabytes in size and was composed of 26 gigapixels. The following link allows the viewer to experience the view of Dresden via the original and to zoom into the image: http://www.dresden-26-gigapixels.com/dresden26GP

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