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Finding a Face in the Crowd: Bruce Ely Captures Oregon Fans

Unique Storytelling

As a sports photographer at The Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Oregon, Bruce Ely is always trying to tell a story with his images. Covering sporting events for all the major Oregon teams, he wanted to find a way for fans to take part of their experience with them.

To help achieve this goal, Bruce turned to gigapixel photography. “I am always looking for new technologies to help me tell unique stories,” Bruce said.

Finding the Answer in His Backyard

Portland-based GigaPan was exactly what Bruce was looking for to create this unique experience for Oregon sports fans. Using GigaPan EPIC Pro and his Canon 5D MKIII, he creates gigapixel images that provide a unique view of sporting events and allow readers to take part in their own piece of history.

In order to create an even greater user experience for his audience, Bruce used GigaPan’s GigaTag feature that enables people to share the image of themselves at sporting events via Facebook. This tool provides fans with an entertaining and engaging online experience, while also increasing website activity of where the image is posted. Fans also have the ability to print the GigaTag image of the event to keep as a souvenir.

“Game goers pay a large amount of money to attend this event and sometimes only have a ticket stub for a souvenir. Now I’m giving them the greatest souvenir of all – they can explore these images I post and with GigaTag can share the experience with friends and families for days, months and years after the event.”

Creating a New Fan Experience

Bruce first used GigaPan for the BCS National Championship game of Auburn versus Oregon in 2011, and his image was such a success that The Oregonian has used GigaPan and the GigaTag feature on a number of large events since, including college football, the MLS and the NBA.

Not only can GigaPan be used to capture an individual’s moment in history but it can also be used to document sports history. Bruce’s favorite GigaPan image is of the first game the Portland Timbers played since joining the MLS. This particular image is a result of 612 individual photos; therefore Bruce uses both GigaPan Stitch Software and Autopano Giga to stitch the images together.

“I see this photo as more than a cool image. It documented a significant event and allow fans to interact with a piece of Portland history,” Bruce said.

This image received more than 15,000 page views and 1,200 people have been tagged on Facebook via GigaTag, generating significant traffic to The Oregonian website. In addition to this gigapixel image, Bruce has captured many of the rivalry Civil War games against Oregon and Oregon State, as well as several Portland Trailblazers games.

“These interactive, crystal-clear images I create with GigaPan, allow me to give readers a cool new way to view and share photographs from local sports games. It’s also allowing The Oregonian to enhance the online experience of our readers,” Bruce concluded.

To see all of the images Bruce has taken using GigaPan, visit his profile on GigaPan.com or learn more about Bruce's work on his website.