After 16 months of waiting on the weather, the D Day had finally arrived. All the conditions were in the right place at the right time on September 8th, 2009.
The Paris 26 Gigapixels project has 2 goals :
- Make the most beautiful gigapixel photo of Paris
- Create the biggest image ever stitched
8:00 AM Rallying the whole team at the bottom of the tower of Saint Sulpice. The day promises to be exceptional, everybody is crossing their fingers that the weather remains sunny throughout the day. The tower was being restored so Martin asked the foreman if we could use the crane to mount the equipment on top of the tower. Request granted, we were without our bags to begin the ascent of the tower.
9 :15 AM We set up the motorized panoramic head on the parapet of the tower. We Installed 2 Canon 5D Mark II (21.1 MP) on it, each with a 300 mm f4.0 with a tele converter in order to get a 600mm /f8.0 needed to beat the record. We used 2 cameras simply to reduce the shooting time in half.
The cameras were set as follows:
- 300mm f4.0 with a tele converter 2x (equivalent 600mm f8.0)
- Manual focus. We used the Live View (zoom and pan) to get a very precise focus control.
- Priority diaphragm F13 (to have a bigger depth of field)
- Iso 800
- Speed 1/800 in order to reduce the heat haze
- Recording in RAW
- Compact Flash 16GB
- The motorized head triggers the cameras.
9: 30 Setting the panoramic head (horizontal field angle: 219.75 ° and 38.49 ° vertical). According to preliminary estimations with a 30% overlapping between images we got:
- 138 columns by 17 rows for a total of 2346 photos and for a shooting time around 2:30.
Unfortunately during the adjustment we found that one Canon takes blurred images. Is this the fault of the lens or the tele converter? We didn’t have time to ask these questions. We must make a decision: cancel the shot or continue with one camera….
10:00 The decision was made to continue with one camera. Everyone was ready to spend 5 hours on the top of the tower. The shooting strategy was to take pictures horizontally (left to right) from the horizon and then down to the foot of the tower. At the beginning of each line we paused the panoramic head to manually adjust the focus through the Live View and change the memory card if necessary.
13:30 The team supplies (Alex & Martin) came back with sandwiches and some drinks. This break was welcome, however, Lionel and Arnaud always kept an eye on the panoramic head because nothing could stop the shot.
14:45: The stress falls. We could finally breathe, it was finished. We only needed to copy the memory card to the laptop one last time.
15:15: The light was so exceptional that we decided to redo the first 2 lines of the shooting. This series of images may be used in assembly later (just in case).
16:50: The equipment was clustered in the middle of the tower. Martin signaled the crane operator and in no time the equipment had been laid at the bottom of the tower.
17:00 Everyone had the same question in mind: did we forget to shoot a photo ? The question will be answered in step 2 “The stitching”