Gigapixel images provide an excellent vehicle for taking in impressive views while also enabling watchers to zoom in for a closer look. We've already seen an impressive London panorama made up of 48,000 individual shots, but it only captured one moment in the life of a busy city. Now Lenstore, Nikon, the Canary Wharf Group and Visualise have created what's being dubbed a Gigalapse, which combines time-lapse and gigapixel photography for a round-the-clock look at London.
The numbers are not as impressive as previous gigapixel panoramas, with the image topping out at 7.3 gigapixels, being made up of more than 6,240 shots and offering a 155 degree pan. What makes this London view so special is that it was shot over a 24 hour time period, so not only can you zoom in and out of the view in front of the lens, but you can do so at different times of the February day when it was captured.
The panorama was shot using a Nikon D850 DLSR, which features a 47.5 megapixel sensor, and was chosen for "its unique ability to capture the range of different shades that the capital experiences over the course of the day." Attached to the camera was a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm F2.8 lens, and all images were captured in RAW format for stitching together in post-processing software.
And, there's enough detail in there to let viewers zoom in to read signs up to 5 miles away from the camera, which was mounted to a pre-programmed robotic motion control rig atop the 50 story One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, East London.
"The robotic head we used to take the images is from the world of film production, it's technically a custom modified Mark Roberts Motion Control – Ulti-Head," said project lead Henry Stuart from Visualise. "This head was programmed to take the 260 photos of each photo to pixel precision, meaning each time the panorama is created, even 24 hours later, the pixels have not moved and everything lines up."
"I can tell you also, shooting it was hard, there was a team of two of us, taking shifts through the day/night," Stuart revealed. "It was incredibly cold and windy, each hour we made the trip to the corner of the roof, checked the light, adjusted our settings and set off the camera remotely. Then rushed back inside to warm up again, we were in a building control room, sandwiched between all their electrics and air conditioning controls."
We think it was definitely worth the effort. You can immerse yourself in London life by heading over the dedicated page at Lenstore.
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