Olympics Gigapan: Opening Ceremonies

July 28, 2012 by David Bergman

My first Gigapan from the 2012 London Olympics is now online. You’ll find it in three different places.

It’s on the official NBC Olympics website, Sports Illustrated’s site, and it was even on the cover of Time.com earlier today.


I made the Gigapan by shooting 425 images in a grid pattern (25 across by 17 down) with a Nikon D4 and 200-400 f/4 lens (zoomed to about 310mm) in a Gigapan Epic Pro. Each photo is 16 megapixels so, with a little bit of overlap on each one, the final high-resolution image is 81,992 X 37,520—more than three billion pixels.

I’ve made a lot of Gigapans, but this was one of my toughest. I like to challenge myself - otherwise it would be boring - but I’ll admit that I was sweating this one out a bit.

Since I shoot every frame manually, it can take 30-60 minutes to make one complete pass. I made one early in the ceremony when there was still some daylight and the crowd was nicely lit.

But I really wanted to have the athletes (and the Queen!) in the photo.

So when the athletes began marching into the stadium, I shot a complete pass for the sole purpose of getting the crowd. Those cool LED lights on the seats obscure some faces, but there was nothing I could do about that.

As the infield filled up, I went back and began photographing the athletes. At the very end, when everyone was finally there, I had about 30 seconds to finish up before they killed all the lights and went on with the show. I just barely got enough frames to make it work.

Overnight, I stitched together two complete Gigapans and then combined them so I had all the fans with the athletes on the field in the same photo.

The image is far from perfect as you’ll find quite a few stitching errors. I fixed many of them but every time someone moves between frames, there’s potential for a cut off head or half a body. Sorry to anyone I sawed in half.

I did make sure the Queen, William, Kate, and Harry all look OK! Otherwise they may not have let me out of the country.


In the end, I’m pretty happy with the result, considering that I stay up all night to get these massive Gigapans uploaded first thing in morning.

Tonight I’m doing another one at the swimming final. It’s a smaller venue, which can be difficult, but at least I won’t have to worry about cutting off the Queen’s head!

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Think Differently in London

July 24, 2012 by David Bergman

Over the next three weeks, I’ll be practicing what I preach to other photographers all the time:

Separate Yourself From the Pack.

In my public photo presentations, I talk about the importance of covering events differently than everyone else. There’s no reason to go to an event and shoot it just like the other photographers who are there.

This week I begin covering the London Olympics, but not as a traditional still photographer.

This is my fifth Olympic Games (Nagano ‘98, Sydney ‘00, Salt Lake City ‘02, and Torino ‘06). At all the others, my job was to make storytelling photos at the events, like this shot of Michelle Kwan, who came up short in her bid to win a gold medal in Nagano.


This time, I’m working for both NBC and Sports Illustrated in two unique roles.

Each weekday morning, I’ll be on the set of NBC’s Today Show with my friend, legendary sports photographer Neil Leifer. He’s doing portraits of the medal winners who come on the show (which is basically all of them). We’re setting up a photo studio in a trailer and the athletes have to come to us before they appear on the air.

I’ll be helping Neil with his Olympic portraits like I did when he photographed Muhammad Ali earlier this year.

I believe the Today Show will cut to Neil as they come and go from commercial breaks, so you might occasionally see us on the air.

Then at night, I’m producing Gigapan images at all of the big events. Since my Obama inauguration Gigapan, I’ve produced high-resolution panoramas at the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Final Four, NBA Finals, and even for Bon Jovi.

The plan is to do them at opening and closing ceremonies, gymnastics, track and field, swimming, basketball, and beach volleyball. They should be online the day after each event, and I’ll post links and status updates on my Facebook page.

Working the Olympics for two of the biggest media companies in the world should keep me pretty busy, and I plan on staying as far away from the pack as possible.

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Upcoming Photo Talks 2012

June 27, 2012 by David Bergman


Here’s an up-to-date list of my upcoming speaking engagements.

1) July 11, 2012 - Adorama in New York, NY
Catching the Action: From Sports Events to the Concert Stage
Register on the Adorama site.

This is a two-hour event sponsored by Nikon. I’ll be showing photos from my career and telling the stories behind them. It’s a small room so register now before it’s sold out. These Adorama events are always fun and we’ll probably hang out afterwards at a local watering hole.

2) August 26-28, 2012 - San Francisco, CA / Napa Valley wine country
Official Bon Jovi fan club trip hosted by Runaway Tours
More info from Runaway Tours

This is part of the official Bon Jovi fan club trip to San Francisco / Napa Valley. I’ll spend an hour on stage during a private event at the Hard Rock Cafe showing photos and telling stories about my experience traveling with the band on the last world tour.

Jon Bon Jovi himself will be doing a storyteller / acoustic show at an amazing castle in wine country on the last night. The all-inclusive trip is for Backstage JBJ fan club members only. They recently added a few more slots, but it may be sold out already.

3) August 29, 2012 - ASMP event in Orlando, FL
Separate Yourself from the Pack: An Evening with David Bergman
Register on the ASMP site.

I’m doing a 90-minute presentation for the American Society of Media Photographers. It’ll be similar to the July event in NYC. but I will have recently returned from the London Olympics and will be able to add that into my show.

I look forward to seeing you!

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2012 Photo Internship

February 29, 2012 by David Bergman


UPDATE: The deadline has passed and a summer intern has been selected.

I’m searching for an intern to work closely with me in New York City. This is a very rare opportunity for a new professional or student to learn the photo industry directly from someone who’s been shooting sports, music, and portraits for nearly 25 years.

You do not have to be a photographer to apply. Someone studying advertising, marketing, web design, or other related field would be a great fit, but make sure you are familiar with my work. My sites are DavidBergman.net and TourPhotographer.com. You can watch recent videos about me at TWIT Photo and Fstoppers.

The commitment is for two six-hour days every week for a minimum of six-months. Start date is asap. You’ll be doing a little bit of everything: organizing and cleaning the office and photo gear, printing images, packaging and mailing, customer service phone calls and emails, social media management, archiving digital files, running errands, and other assorted administrative tasks. You may also be assisting me on location for photo shoots and workshops. You must have your own Mac laptop.

I’m flexible with scheduling and we can work around your classes or other jobs. Most of the time you’ll be with me in my home office in Upper Manhattan (above the GW Bridge near the Cloisters) and there may be an opportunity for occasional travel. If you have a car (and a clean driving record), that’s a huge bonus. I have two cats, so hopefully you don’t have allergies.

The position is unpaid, but you will be on my list of local assistants and I will hire you for paid assisting jobs when appropriate. If you need an internship for school credit, we can arrange that as well.

I’m looking for someone with a “can-do” attitude who will do whatever it takes to get the job done without any drama or attitude. Attention to detail is very important. A sense of humor is helpful because I like to keep things light and fun. But when we’re on a shoot, it’s all business.

Proficiency in HTML/CSS, graphic/web design, marketing/advertising, and/or video editing is a big plus.

To apply, send an email to Intern@DavidBergman.net with the subject line 2012 PHOTO INTERN by Wed, March 14. Include a short bio or resume in the body of your email (text only, no attachments) and provide references along with any other qualifications or information that you think will be relevant. I will contact the top candidates soon after the deadline to schedule an interview.

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Join Me At The NYC Apple Store On March 12

February 27, 2012 by David Bergman

I’ll be showing images and telling the stories behind them at the west 14th street Apple Store in New York City on Monday, March 12th from 7:00 - 8:00 pm.

Hang out afterwards and we’ll find somewhere nearby to have drinks. ** UPDATE: There will be an area reserved for us under my name starting at 8:15 at The Brass Monkey. It’s at 55 Little West 12th Street (google map) - a 5 minute walk from the Apple Store.

Below is the description from the Apple site. Hope to see you then.

Action Photography with David Bergman

Enjoy a presentation from renowned editorial and commercial photographer David Bergman. Bergman has traveled the world as Bon Jovi’s official tour photographer, shot eleven “Sports Illustrated” covers, and had his work featured in top publications such as “Rolling Stone,” “Time,” and “People.” His panoramic GigaPan from President Obama’s inauguration was viewed online more than 15 million times. At this event, Bergman will show images from his career, including tour photography, band portraiture, sports action, and GigaPan.


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Going Wide At Super Bowl XLVI

February 10, 2012 by David Bergman

Sometimes it pays to shoot with a lens other than the one you’re supposed to.

I usually want the longest lens possible so I can get closer to the action. For example, last weekend in Indianapolis I used a Nikon 600mm to make this photo of New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks trying to avoid two New England Patriots defenders at the Super Bowl.

(Nikon D3, 600mm lens, ISO 2500, 1/800, f/4)

I used the same lens to photograph Madonna at halftime with Cirque du Soleil dancers.

(Nikon D3, 600mm lens, ISO 4000, 1/250, f/4)

But it’s important to use wide-angle lenses to show the pomp and circumstance surrounding the biggest game of the year. Here’s Patriots QB Tom Brady leading his teammates onto the field before the game.

(Nikon D3, 24-70 lens at 24mm, ISO 2500, 1/640, f/4)

Immediately after Brady’s last-chance hail-mary pass fell to the ground (a “fail mary?”), I shot wider-than-normal to show the New York Giants players rushing on to the field in celebration. The image ran across two pages to open SI’s Super Bowl coverage.

(Nikon D3, 70-200 lens at 200mm, ISO 2500, 1/1000, f/4)

If I had shot any tighter, you wouldn’t have been able to see Brady dejectedly walking off the field (far left) as Giants QB Eli Manning (red hat) runs right behind him.

Here’s an iPhone picture I took of my gear before the game. The short lenses in front are (l-r) 14-24, 70-200, and 24-70 (all f/2.8). In the back row, I have two 200-400 f/4 lenses (one was for my GigaPan) and a 600mm f/4.


Don’t lock yourself into only using the lens that you’re “supposed” to use. Try something different and you never know what might happen.

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