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Too bad Hillary's eyes are closed.
January 23, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe

How I Made a 1,474-Megapixel Photo During President Obama’s Inaugural Address.

Using gigapan processing, photographer David Bergman patched together 220 separate photos for one remarkable shot.
posted by googly (121 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's great, I zoomed in a few times and wound up on Clarence Thomas napping!
posted by lee at 1:54 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is simply incredible. I remember one that was done in Times Square two New Year's Eves ago, but it didn't even come close to this. Everything in it just works. Great post.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 1:55 PM on January 23, 2009


Amazing detail! I think I spotted the frolicking unicorns.
posted by Abiezer at 1:56 PM on January 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Hey! I can see where I was (supposed to be) standing!
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:57 PM on January 23, 2009


Where's Waldo?
posted by hamfisted at 1:59 PM on January 23, 2009


This might be conclusive evidence that the universe is indeed a 5-dimensional hologram.
posted by Dumsnill at 1:59 PM on January 23, 2009


Oh! Bush looks so pissed it's unbelievable. Color me happy!
posted by Navelgazer at 2:02 PM on January 23, 2009


It's all great, until you find a sith lord and a man with two faces, and then you realize it sees too much.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on January 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


The full-screen version is amazing.
posted by DakotaPaul at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


ENHANCE... ENHANCE...
posted by RokkitNite at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


Yeah, that's a rockin photo right there. What's up with the fedoras? I'd love if men started sporting those again.
Is that Justice Ginsburg, looking like a child in swaddling clothes, to the left of Clarence Thomas?
posted by dawson at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2009


Who's the dude with the white scarf and hat right near Obama? He's sitting in front of the SCOTUS justices, but he's not wearing a robe.
posted by smackfu at 2:11 PM on January 23, 2009


How many Canon L lenses can you find in this picture!
posted by aubilenon at 2:12 PM on January 23, 2009


Very cool!
posted by sbutler at 2:12 PM on January 23, 2009


I want this tagged and on flickr, stat!
posted by Navelgazer at 2:14 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, that Gigapan imager he used is shockingly cheap for camera equipment: $279.
posted by smackfu at 2:14 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a guy with a double set of eyes. He's sitting to the left and behind the woman with red hair and a red scarf just above Obama's head.

What's up with that?
posted by Stewriffic at 2:16 PM on January 23, 2009


He's a Reptilian, of course.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:20 PM on January 23, 2009


One of the Andromedans. You can bet that makup artist is being fired.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:20 PM on January 23, 2009


Error from the photo-stitching software. Or what they said.
posted by acro at 2:21 PM on January 23, 2009


I zoomed in a few times and wound up on Clarence Thomas napping!

Holy crap, I thought you were joking!

Amazing.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:22 PM on January 23, 2009


Obi Wan Kenobi is not a sith lord.
posted by Curry at 2:25 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Smackfu: He's sitting with other Supreme Court justices, so I think it's

Does anyone know who is sitting in the front row, next to the railing to Obama's left? He's wearing a blue scarf and just about to clap. During the televised speech, his feet were on camera, and I swear he was wearing black sneakers. I never did catch his face, though.
posted by sixpack at 2:25 PM on January 23, 2009


I zoomed in a few times and wound up on Clarence Thomas napping!
Actually he's praying.
Someone should make a name chart thingy for this. Anyone? Anyone? Cortex?
posted by dawson at 2:27 PM on January 23, 2009


p.s. Cheney looks so badass with his wheelchair and black fedora.
posted by Curry at 2:27 PM on January 23, 2009


(Oops - So I think it's possibly Souter?)
posted by sixpack at 2:27 PM on January 23, 2009


Right, Thomas is praying while the Democrats are clapping.
posted by sixpack at 2:29 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not Souter - he's sitting between Thomas and Roberts, in the row behind the black-gloved mob enforce...er, Scalia.
posted by googly at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2009


You can tell this was taken during one of the oblique critiques of the previous administration just by looking at the faces of Dick, George, Laura, and Lynne. Those are some tight-lipped smiles. (Except for G.W.'s, which is a tight-lipped scowl.)
posted by mudpuppie at 2:32 PM on January 23, 2009


Somewhere in there a goateed man's head is split in half and Aretha Franklin emerges all alien-like.

I shit you not.

Oh, and impressive!
posted by mazola at 2:33 PM on January 23, 2009


There's a guy with a double set of eyes.
You think that's something, there's another guy about 4 left from that guy who has triple chins.
posted by dawson at 2:37 PM on January 23, 2009


p.s. Cheney looks so badass with his wheelchair and black fedora.

I thought he looked like he was about to cry. Because strong men also cry, Mr. Lebowski... strong men also cry. Sometimes while wearing a hat.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:38 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Makes me want to put on a jacket to warm up.
posted by Big_B at 2:40 PM on January 23, 2009


This is impressive. Someone needs to do a key of who everyone is kind of like those diagrams of the Sgt. Pepper album cover. I guess put it on flickr and everybody can tag themselves.
posted by marxchivist at 2:41 PM on January 23, 2009


I found Waldo! (not telling where).
posted by piratebowling at 2:41 PM on January 23, 2009


Aretha and her fab hat seem to have a phantom hat visitor.
posted by fontophilic at 2:41 PM on January 23, 2009


Cheney looks Dr. Strangelove. "Mein Führer! I can walk!"
posted by doctor_negative at 2:42 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Check out Newt looking like a bored fifth grader, with his legs sprawled out and his head turned away from the show.
posted by dosterm at 2:42 PM on January 23, 2009


Is the band using some kind of Official Marine Clothespins to combat the wind?

(Also, I wonder if Marine bassoonists have to deal with playing the saxophone/trombone part, too.)
posted by nicething at 2:42 PM on January 23, 2009


There's a guy with a double set of eyes.
You think that's something, there's another guy about 4 left from that guy who has triple chins.


I'll see that & raise you the guy with a double head, and apparently a custom-made set of ear warmers. Find the AP zoom lens in the foreground, follow it to the light post in the upper left stands, then directly above the lamp. Reminds me of Mandy Patinkin in Alien Nation.
posted by sixpack at 2:44 PM on January 23, 2009


You can see Denzel (blue watchcap) and someone else famous (massive diamond earring) on the ground, standing in the center aisle.
posted by smackfu at 2:45 PM on January 23, 2009


woo! I found myself. Those annoying Code Pink ladies turned out to be useful after all.
posted by ambrosia at 2:47 PM on January 23, 2009


Here's an alternative way to view this. Better zooming in the direction you want to go. 100% Javascript, no flash required. Looks best in Firefox.
posted by hanoixan at 2:49 PM on January 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Bush's expression in this is classic. It just screams, "When the fuck is this over? Jesus this guy's dull."
posted by eyeballkid at 2:51 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


thanks hanoixan /small>
posted by dawson at 2:51 PM on January 23, 2009


/small>
posted by dawson at 2:52 PM on January 23, 2009


A little bit above the Bush twins there's another guy whose head splits in half.
posted by jayder at 2:53 PM on January 23, 2009


The secret service guys in black skull caps at the top of the far stairs look goofy. In fact sort of like Goofy. SS everywhere, can even see the ear pieces. They can't be too happy about this picture.
posted by stbalbach at 2:56 PM on January 23, 2009


Cheney looked like Jeffrey Lebowski.
posted by gman at 2:57 PM on January 23, 2009


hanoixan - keen! Find Aretha Franklin, and you can find the Magritte floating fedora. One of the better glitches.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:59 PM on January 23, 2009


I wowed out loud. That's amazing. Gigapan is a great site, I've had a lot of fun with it on the smart board at work.
posted by absalom at 3:00 PM on January 23, 2009


marxchivist - hanoixan's link provides that.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:01 PM on January 23, 2009


cheney looks like he came off the set of dark city.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 3:01 PM on January 23, 2009


And this reminds me of the few photographers who have used aerial photography gear to shoot landscapes. The prints are huge, and highly detailed, but the gear costs a LOT.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:03 PM on January 23, 2009


fuzzypantalones - he's trying to remember if it's "tuning," chooning," or "shooning" that he's supposed to be doing in order to capture souls or whatever it is they do.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:10 PM on January 23, 2009


I just kept picking picking people out of the audience at random and zooming in on them...it made me feel like /b/ choosing my next victim.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:11 PM on January 23, 2009


additionally, while we're doing photos, I guess everyone's seen the big picture.
posted by dawson at 3:15 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


p.s. Cheney looks so badass with his wheelchair and black fedora.

"Stay away from that old man, kids. He'll hit you with his cane!"
posted by chugg at 3:18 PM on January 23, 2009


You can zoom in eerily close on the photographers and their equipment (and at least 1 ID tag).
posted by Science! at 3:30 PM on January 23, 2009


There's actually a shit load of stitching errors in this, not that it matters, it's still awesome.
posted by dead cousin ted at 3:31 PM on January 23, 2009


It's interesting looking at the crowd to see how many people watched the speech on the TV screens instead of looking at Obama even when he was actually standing in front of them.
posted by stopgap at 3:35 PM on January 23, 2009


Oh man there's an epic temporal/spatial distortion right at the base of the camera tower, I hope Scully and Mulder were informed.
posted by Skorgu at 3:42 PM on January 23, 2009


Yo Yo Ma is taking pictures using his iPhone!
posted by ooga_booga at 3:42 PM on January 23, 2009


Holy shit, I didn't notice the guys on roofs until I saw hanoixans link. They have this whole faceless appearance and weird detached surveillance thing going on. Creepy.
posted by dead cousin ted at 3:43 PM on January 23, 2009


Rollo Tomasi: The Man Who Gets Away with Everything.
posted by raysmj at 3:46 PM on January 23, 2009


Is that a snake scale in the bathtub?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:48 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


here's actually a shit load of stitching errors in this, not that it matters, it's still awesome.

I think they would call them temporal errors actually. It's reality that's inconsistent.
posted by smackfu at 3:50 PM on January 23, 2009


CONDI RICE NIPPLE SLIP.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:54 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


good luck printing this out!
posted by matteo at 3:56 PM on January 23, 2009


Is that a snake scale in the bathtub?

Try Abdul Ben-Hassan. I hear he knows about these things.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:59 PM on January 23, 2009


This is particularly disturbing. And this guy is a little tired.
posted by dead cousin ted at 4:11 PM on January 23, 2009


dead cousin ted: i took a couple more pictures of the snipers sharp shooters
posted by ShawnString at 4:13 PM on January 23, 2009


"Gigapan.org is currently experiencing heavy load"

ya think?

This is so cool.
posted by lysdexic at 4:15 PM on January 23, 2009


Gigapan.org is currently experiencing heavy load

I know how it feels.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:17 PM on January 23, 2009


Holy wow.
posted by rtha at 4:25 PM on January 23, 2009


I'd love to know all the people seated behind Obama and exactly what some of them had to do to score those seats. I wonder what the cut off was for top donors.
posted by any major dude at 4:33 PM on January 23, 2009


This guy has just eaten somebody's hand!
posted by nitsuj at 4:47 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


O_O woah.
posted by not_on_display at 4:54 PM on January 23, 2009


dawson - thanks, I missed that series. Great pictures, and I'm a bit teary-eyed again.

Mrs. filthy light thief's class asked if they could watch the inauguration, but she said it wasn't related to math. I'm still amused by that, but I understand. She keeps political discussions out of class time (ditto religious discussions and most other non-mathy topics - but she did bring up the math in Dark Knight, but I digress).
posted by filthy light thief at 4:57 PM on January 23, 2009


CONDI RICE NIPPLE SLIP.

I assumed jimmythefish was kidding but check this out!
posted by originalname37 at 5:01 PM on January 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


I found Justin Long in one of the pics I took!
posted by inigo2 at 5:11 PM on January 23, 2009


Okay the map is super cool (I want a names layer AND a lego layer please), but wow dawson's Big Picture shots from the Globe are really something. Moving, even.
posted by rokusan at 5:14 PM on January 23, 2009


I see Lobot dressed in a military uniform and several heads cut in half. Awesome pic.
posted by podwarrior at 5:21 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


That felt GOOD, originalname37!!
posted by Roach at 5:26 PM on January 23, 2009


Who's that guy on the grassy knoll? Oh well, it's probably nothing.
posted by DU at 5:44 PM on January 23, 2009


Impressive!
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:50 PM on January 23, 2009


Nice! I found Oprah, at least the visible part of her.
posted by miftik at 5:52 PM on January 23, 2009


I'm wondering aloud here, but what about the security implications of this? In one shot anybody has a clear map they can revisit over and over to view all the security present (from that side, at least). Not that anybody couldn't do the same with one point and shoot camera, in the crowd, of course, or viewing all the photos on Flickr, etc. But it is a rather unique perspective that makes one wonder. Or, I could see someone involved in "security theater" banning such technology in the future.

Or what would happen if somebody combined this with facial recognition technology? For example, taking a photo at a sporting event and then combing through the crowd for wanted offenders in the first quarter of a football game, and then being able to nab them at their seats by half-time? (I know that most people's faces aren't that clear (yet), just musing.) Also, how long will it take before someone uses a gigapan photo as an alibi, or, even better, causes a break-up or divorce? Catches someone in a lie? It isn't that the technology is new - it's the ease of the technology that's worth thinking about.

That doesn't take away from the cool factor by any means. I use gigapan myself for landforms, and I love it. I'm glad it's starting to get more mainstream attention.
posted by barchan at 5:59 PM on January 23, 2009


you know, it just struck me that this image is likely to become the iconic image of the inaguration, much as that one blurry photo of Lincoln's inaguration is. The richness of depth given the image with all those readable faces places it squarely into the American history painting tradition (The Death of General Wolfe, the painting of the signers of the Declaration) while the simple fact of the vast numbers and clear democratic narrative (as well as the amusing SFX-y stitch errors) places it into the tradition of both Dutch country-and-city life paintings and the bizarre landscapes of our dear beloved Mynheer Bosch.

wait, did I just call this a masterpiece? it might be, I guess.
posted by mwhybark at 6:04 PM on January 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Henry Waxman looks like Mouser circa Super Marios Bros. 2 for the NES.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:16 PM on January 23, 2009


My mother seems to be the only one looking at the camera. And for once, she has her eyes open!
posted by brownbeards at 6:23 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


hahaha Newt is totally bored and looking at something else.
posted by barchan at 6:26 PM on January 23, 2009


Yeah, Bush's expression in this is classic. It just screams, "When the fuck is this over? Jesus this guy's dull."

To be fair, that's how he's always looked on camera.
posted by Evilspork at 6:27 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


additionally, while we're doing photos, I guess everyone's seen the big picture.

Okay, question. The second picture there looks like it was taken from the Washington Monument, right? They must've taken it through the glass, right? Or do important photographers somehow get the glass out of the way? If the glass is there, how did they minimize the effects? (I ask b/c I had mucho problems taking pictures through it on Monday...)
posted by inigo2 at 6:28 PM on January 23, 2009


Being an audio nerd, the first thing I checked out was FOH. Two Yamaha PM5Ds, if anyone is interested. :)
posted by kaudio at 7:17 PM on January 23, 2009


I love that I can look into that gray-haired guy's camera's LCD screen and just make out what I think is Obama's suit.
posted by Nomiconic at 7:50 PM on January 23, 2009


He blinked!
posted by Lukenlogs at 8:54 PM on January 23, 2009


The twins look like they're at a funeral. Are they holding each other's hands? Consoling each other?

From Dubya's face, I assume that the picture was taken at one of the points where Obama made a not-so-subtle jab at how fundamentally unamerican Bush is. It must be hard to hear that your father is a piece of shit. It must be even harder to hear it when you know it's true.
posted by Flunkie at 8:54 PM on January 23, 2009


It must be hard to hear that your father is a piece of shit. It must be even harder to hear it when you know it's true.

Karl Rove says that Obama's a meanie for that speech.
posted by inigo2 at 9:03 PM on January 23, 2009


What the hell is Abercrombie holding? It looks like a tiny ice sculpture of a dove.
posted by xorry at 9:20 PM on January 23, 2009


Are you referring to Representative Neil Abercrombie? And if so, are you referring to the guy who looks like he might be Abercrombie (and I'm not implying I disbelieve), almost directly "up" in the picture from Lynne Cheney, in what looks to be the second row of the second group of seats, with what looks to be some sort of garland of leaves draped around his neck, behind a guy with a red scarf and in front of one with a baseball cap?

If so, that looks to me like a piece of paper. He's clapping while holding it with one hand. It is curved due to motion.

If you're not talking about that guy, where is the guy you're talking about?
posted by Flunkie at 10:14 PM on January 23, 2009


Interesting that there's a row of people between the former Presidents and the former Vice Presidents. Who are they?
posted by Flunkie at 10:21 PM on January 23, 2009


So I'm the only one that finds this pretty creepy, then?
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:21 PM on January 23, 2009


So Cheney is in a wheelchair because of back pain. Zoom in on it...why is he crossing his legs? I remember when I went to a doctor for back pain. He specifically told me not to cross my legs even at the ankles...when I didn't heed his advice, it actually started to burn my back within minutes. How come it doesn't bother Cheney?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:23 PM on January 23, 2009


So Cheney is in a wheelchair because of back pain. Zoom in on it...why is he crossing his legs? I remember when I went to a doctor for back pain. He specifically told me not to cross my legs even at the ankles...when I didn't heed his advice, it actually started to burn my back within minutes. How come it doesn't bother Cheney?
My doctor told me the exact opposite. He gave me about ten stretching exercises to do, several of which included crossing my legs.

I had been in pain for about two weeks before going to the doctor; after starting the exercises, I was much better after one day, and perfectly fine the next.
posted by Flunkie at 10:26 PM on January 23, 2009


The guy with the garland is Abercrombie - the garland is a lei, probably of maile vine. Maile is for special occasions (I had one for my wedding), so this was certainly an appropriate time to wear one. And the leaves probably fared better in the cold than flowers would have.
posted by rtha at 10:37 PM on January 23, 2009


haha. Rick warren's head got cut off, all you can see his his goatee below Aretha Franklen's head.
posted by delmoi at 10:43 PM on January 23, 2009


Also, is bush holding a blackberry?
posted by delmoi at 10:44 PM on January 23, 2009


Very cool tech, to be sure, and an amazing view into the moment.

this image is likely to become the iconic image of the inauguration

Oh, just great! /stomps foot petulantly
I was standing north of the MSNBC booth, two feet, max, further right into the section cut off by the large lens...
posted by gemmy at 10:45 PM on January 23, 2009


So did anyone find Oprah???
posted by Big_B at 10:56 PM on January 23, 2009


Or roughly 1.44 gigapixels.
This is utter awesomeness.

posted by jock@law at 10:28 PM on January 24, 2009


Its like the most impossible Where's Waldo ever! I love it and am in absolute awe!
posted by fenriq at 10:30 PM on January 24, 2009


I found a clone.
posted by rlk at 6:35 AM on January 25, 2009


Even ghost legs showed up for the inauguration! This is truly a bipartisan event where conservative and liberal, libertarian and authoritarian, and man and creepy dismembered ghost can get together in harmony.
posted by tehloki at 1:07 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Site is down
posted by terrapin at 3:06 PM on January 25, 2009


Ok, what I want to know is this - How can I get this on a device that's going to hold it forever? Is someone going to print this out and put it on a gigantic wall somewhere? Can I get this on a Kindal-like navigation device?

I'd save up for years to purchase something like that.
posted by lysdexic at 4:37 PM on January 25, 2009


Due to some wonky stitching, Aretha has an extra mouth + beard!
posted by yellowbinder at 9:50 PM on January 25, 2009


raysmj: "65Rollo Tomasi: The Man Who Gets Away with Everything."

HOLY CRAP STOP PICKING THAT GUY'S NOSE!
posted by iamkimiam at 9:51 PM on January 25, 2009


The twins look like they're at a funeral. Are they holding each other's hands?

Yeah. Watching it on TV, I had a sort of Shining moment there too.
posted by rokusan at 8:45 AM on January 26, 2009


Ok, what I want to know is this - How can I get this on a device that's going to hold it forever? Is someone going to print this out and put it on a gigantic wall somewhere? Can I get this on a Kindal-like navigation device?

posted by lysdexic at 4:37 PM on January 25


Do you mean Kindle, the e-book reader? If so ... eponysterical?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:08 PM on January 26, 2009


What I've learned from the aerial shots:

Obama:people::ice cream spilled on the sidewalk:ants
posted by notswedish at 7:44 PM on January 26, 2009


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