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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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  • By Rob Fuzesi on July 29, 2012


  • By Carlos Austin on July 29, 2012

    Wonderful body of work and spirit you have David. Enjoyed your interview on Twit from Jan2012 and your site.
    keep it sharp and happy trails,


  • By John Reinert Nash on July 29, 2012

    Gigapan.org really needs to get a non-flash interface up and running. I’ll check out the Gigapan the next time I’m on a PC….

    Shot looks great, though!

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