Highest definition picture ever taken of Cape Town

Posted by batman on Feb 27th, 2010
2010
Feb 27

Virtual Tours are an organization that provide virtual, often 360º views of various sites, amongst them Nelson Mandela’s jail cell on Robben Island.

One of their most spectacular creations is the so-called “Highest definition picture ever taken of Cape Town” – click here to view. It really is a mind-blowing photographic achievement. Since this photo (the word ‘photo’ somehow seems so inadequate), they have been commissioned to do similar projects of scenes in Gautend and Durban – the start of great things i feel.

Some details as to the size of this image (taken directly from their site):

  • It was created by stitching 1850,fully zoomed (x 20 optical zoom), 10 MegaPixel images together.
  • The time it took from the first shot (top left) and last shot (lower right) being taken, was about 3 hours.
  • It’s 205 000 pixels wide.
  • That equates to a printout of about 90 m x 15 m!
  • The end result was a 25 GigaBytes RAW file which takes about an hour to open on my Macbook Pro.

Enjoy – I certainly did. It just reminds me once again why Cape Town is considered one of the most scenic cities in the world!

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Photo Stitching for Panoramic Effects

Posted by batman on Jan 21st, 2009
2009
Jan 21

Photo Stitching is a process whereby several photo’s are taken in sequence, and then using a software package (I have used Canon’s Zoombrowser EX, which came with my Canon 350D) to “stitch”, or join the photo’s together, to form one, wide (or high if you want) photo. These are some examples of what I have achieved.

Photos these days can be quite large – my 350D of 8 megapixels yields photos in the order of 3 Mb minimum. Merging about 5 of these photos can easily result in a stitched photo of 15 Mb. For the purposes of this webpage I have had to reduce the size and quality of these photos quite substantially in order to make it render in a reasonable timeframe. Rest assured – the originals are of a much higher resolution!

Stitching can be used to create a panorama (5 wide x 1 high), but can also be used to create much higher resolution e.g (3 wide x 3 high) with an 8 megapixel camera will result in an image of roughly 8 * 9 = 72 megapixels, for you to do with as you please.

I am by no means an expert, and these were accomplished with minimal hassle – I seriously believe that anyone with a decent camera and software can produce images like these within minutes.

Some tips & tricks:

  • Try to keep a constant line through all of them e.g. the horizon works like a charm
  • Rather have too much overlap, than too little
  • Try to keep all photo’s equi-distant i.e. don’t have your leftmost photo closeby, while your rightmost one is far away – you’ll get undesirable curvature effects
  • You will need consistent lighting across the entire sequence e.g. avoid bright sunshine at one end, and shade at the other end
  • Naturally all of the shots must be taken with identical camera settings i.e. don’t fiddle with your focal distance, apertures or shutter speeds between sequences
  • Unexplained hiccups do occur – see Yzerfontein below
  • Practice makes perfect – the fun is in the trying and experimenting

The Orange River, Namibia

The view from the mine.jpg

St Helena Bay, South Africa

20081130_st_helena_bay.jpg

Yzerfontein, South Africa (almost good)

20081130_yzerfontein.jpg

Bains Kloof, South Africa

20081130_bains_kloof.jpg

Table Mountain, South Africa (taken by renowned photographer Shafiq Bailey, CT) – Canon 1000D

TableMountainView.jpg

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