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Empire State Building View I by John Opie

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
John Opie John Opie
Explore score
0.13 Gigapixels
Date added
Aug 15, 2009
Date taken
Jul 20, 2009

This is a redo of a previous gigapan, as I found more images that belonged.

A few notes on how this was done, and why there are some funky edges on 7x7 image.

Kit: Epic 100, Olympus E510, 40-150 lens, 150mm (35mm: 300mm)

No tripods are allowed on the Observatory Deck of the Empire State Building, both as a safety requirement and to cut down on photographers heading up there with their view cameras or gigapans on a nice day and hogging all the good corners. :-) This means that you can't use a gigapan, since it is not something that you can hand-hold. Being the ornery person I am, I searched for an alternative.

I got around this by using a monopod with base feet, a Manfrotto unit that I had picked up years and years ago and only recently discovered actually had the feet, which are nothing more than steel rods, threaded to fit into screwed sockets at the base to provide a modicum of support. I wrote the corporation that runs the Empire State Building if this was acceptable, but received no answer, so when I was recently in New York, I simply went there. I passed through security with no problem, with the head of security commenting that a monopod was allowable.

I then set up the Epic 100 at the top of the Empire State Building on the monopod.

While the unit is impressively stable compared to not having base feet at all, it does sway quite a bit if left to its own devices. Hence I made sure to brace the monopod as well as I could, trying to keep the balance centered on the unit, but found that I need a lot more practice to get this down right. Hence I stopped the first one I did (and erased it from the card) and upped the FOV so that I would get a fair amount of overlap to compensate for the swaying of the gigapan, which does generate a fair amount of torque when tranversing rows or columns.

So, that's the secret of how to do a gigapan where no tripods are allowed: use something that isn't a tripod, but pretends to be.

I am still curious about the lighting on this and the others: the overall balance of the colors looks almost like a tobacco color, which was definitely not the coloration I remember from that day. Will have to see if I can take a closer look at what is driving that coloration...

Gigapan Comments (2)

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  1. John Opie

    John Opie (August 16, 2009, 01:17AM )

    Hi - Nope, this was on the 86th floor Observatory Deck, not the 102nd, which is indeed glassed-in. Didn't want to add any glass layers to the pictures as even small distortions make it hard to zoom in... I fear that the white balance is not okay on the camera in question...

  2. Tom Nelson

    Tom Nelson (August 16, 2009, 01:09AM )

    Thanks for describing your technique, John. These images are wonderful. Were you shooting through a window? That could give a color cast that you might not have noticed at the time.

The GigaPan EPIC Series, Purchase an GigaPan EPIC model and receive GigaPan Stitch complimentary

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Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitcher version 0.4.4090 (Windows)
Panorama size: 129 megapixels (12544 x 10298 pixels)
Input images: 49 (7 columns by 7 rows)
Field of view: 24.6 degrees wide by 20.2 degrees high (top=2.7, bottom=-17.5)
All default settings
Original image properties:
Camera model: E-510
Image size: 3648x2736 (10.0 megapixels)
Capture time: 2009-07-20 21:08:57 - 2009-07-20 21:11:16
Aperture: f/8
Exposure time: 0.004
ISO: 100
Focal length (35mm equiv.): unknown
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Fixed
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 58.9 to 62.3 percent
Vertical overlap: 40.5 to 62.5 percent
Computer stats: 2046.38 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 1:30:48 (1:51 per picture)
Alignment: 12:44, Projection: 4:20, Blending: 1:13:43

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