I kick-start my photography blog and dedicate the first post to my beloved city, Oslo!

If you're new to Oslo or have been living on Mars in recent years, you should know that Oslo's landscape is transforming literally by the day. Massive cranes obscure the skyline and roads are littered with construction sites. A perfect cityscape to record.

So, last weekend I grabbed my trusty camera, a tripod, couple of lenses and rode the tram to Ekebergparken with a mission: to capture the ever-changing landscape of downtown Oslo and its surroundings on a gigapixel scale. This wasn't my first time in the park, of course, but I still didn't know where to plant the tripod. After surveying few spots, though, I settled on a location and this is how the view looked like:

Bjørvika, part of Sørenga and downtown Oslo as seen from Ekebergparken

Creating the panorama

Next was the arduous task of taking many individual photos of the scene in such a way that they intersect each other's edges. As an example, the colored vertical lines in the following 3 photos show where they intersect:

As you'd expect looking at the above example, I ended up taking 30 individual photos (3 horizontal passes, 10 photos in each pass) which covered the entire landscape. If you're like me and get excited by the nitty-gritty details, here they are:

  • Each photo measure 6,000 pixels in width and 4,000 pixels in height, and weigh around 50 megabytes.
  • A bit of math reveals that the projected panorama should be around 60,000 pixels in width and 12,000 pixels in height.
  • Final panorama, however, was scaled down to "only" 50,000 pixels in width and 9,360 pixels in height.
  • Compressed weight of the image file is around 2.5 gigabytes!

After downloading the files into my computer, I loaded them up into a special stitching software designed for large panoramas and let it work for some time. The result was extremely good on the first try and slowly became better the more fine tuning I did in the software. Eventually the stitched panorama was ready for the final polish — color balance and a touch of cinematic view.

Final result

And here is the final panorama! Use your mouse/finger to pan around:

 
The amount of detail one can expect from such gigapixel panoramas depends largely on what lens one uses; that's ultimately the tool used to attract farther details closer. In my case, I used a moderate zoom lens (90mm) to capture the 30 distinct images before stitching them. And the following is a cross section showing a 1:1 zoom of a small piece of the image file:

So, yeah, a lot of detail can be expected 🙂

What's next?

I already know that I like shooting landscapes and cityscapes and this journey has reinforced that feeling. But it also showed me that I like creating giga-panoramas and I will continue to create more in the future. If you're interested in panoramas, sign up to the newsletter and I'll let you know about my next project.