Burning Man Pages by Brad Templeton
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How I made the Picture
Note: This article is now a decade old and quite out of date!
These photos are put together using a special software package that glues a series of overlapping photos together into one mostly seamless panorama. The package I used is called PhotoVista from Live Picture Corp.
For more information check out my Panoramic Photography pages.
PhotoVista is not bad, but its first release couldn't handle a large panorama at all. Even their latest 1.3.2, which was designed to handle larger ones, still can't handle the full Photo-CD resolution. The largest I could go was about 1400 pixels high instead of the 2000 pixels Photo-CD offers. But even that was too high, since the result is over 30,000 pixels wide, and even the vaunted Adobe Photoshop can't handle a file wider than that.
In the end I produced a large Panorama about 1400 x 30000, designed for printing. But it's hard to find a program that will print that, even on banner paper. I had to split it into two to print. I enhanced contrast a bit in Photoshop first.
Of course all this is too big for almost every computer monitor out there. So I rebuilt the panorma a bit smaller, with a full 360, and reduced to two versions as shown above.
While this is a 360 degree panorama, I didn't actually have a quality film shot of a 30 degree segment containing the promenade to the man. So I've pasted in a blow up of an unzoomed digital camera shot of that area taken at a different time. Thus you won't see much detail there, but at least you get the 360 degree sense. It also has different brightness and colour balance. The images to the right, including the man, are also in slightly lower res, as they were taken without a zoom and blown up.
If you have a good 35mm shot from the same tower of the view from the Tree of Life to the Man, let me know.
You will also notice that when people move from one shot to the next, the either appear twice or not at all. In one case, one naked man appears 3 times walking through center camp. This is a "feature" of how the software combines overlapping images. You may also see a few other odd features where we didn't have enough overlap.
You may need to adjust the gamma in your image program or the brightness of your monitor, on some monitors the images appears dark. And there are still bugs with the Zoom panorama viewer for some users.
Printing the panorma
Quality inkjet photo printers are cheap these days and they can print on banner paper, but it's hard to find a program that can handle an image the size of mine. So far all I've found is a program for Windows called Poster which can do a banner 10 pages wide, so you still have to split the image in two. If you know of better software let me know.