We had two presentations for the July 2004 COBA meeting. Mark Jaremko and Stan Jirman spoke about their photographic experiences on opposite sides of the globe, the Antarctic for Stan and the Arctic for Mark. Winnipeg at -11 degrees Celcius is nothing compared to the -40 degrees in the Arctic, said Mark (the hotel staff thought he was crazy for going out to photograph the city at night)! The duo discussed issues surrounding batteries (Lithium Ion batteries are better than NiMH ones. Use hand warmers to keep the batteries nice and toasty), clothing (wear glove liners underneath mittens that can detach around the fingers), and condensation. Many of their tips apply not just in the Arctic or Antarctic cold, but on backpacking trips. Regarding the globes, I’ve experienced this first-hand; it’s very hard to press your camera’s buttons when your hand is encased in fleece!
During the break, people were marvelling at Stan’s 1Ds photos of glaciers, penguins, and the Antarctic sunsets. At 11 megapixels, the images rival (or exceed, according to some web sites) 35mm film. Thought the cutting edge in digital today seems to be in medium format digital cameras, none of those cameras hold a candle to the Gigapxl camera that Graham Flint and Catherine Aves presented Wednesday night! 11 megapixels? Try 1000 megapixels! Graham created four custom gigapixel camera bodies, one of which he brought out of his tricked up mini-van to demonstrate to the group. The cameras come equipped with either a Schneider 450mm lens or a custom-built (to extremely high specifications) 250mm ultra-wide angle lens (check out the MTF on that lens!). The camera uses a magazine cartridge of roll film (9×18-inches, 162 square inches) good for 60 exposures. Graham was saying he can shoot a 3-exposure bracket in 3 seconds!
Catherine uses Adobe Photoshop CS to process the images once they have been scanned (in Dayton, OH). Each gigapixel image comes on one DVD! The lenses are so sharp that she only performs levels and curves adjustments along with ridding the image of dust and scratches. With images this large, a small piece of dust can become the size of a rope!
There’s more to come once the Gigapxl.org web site is live (it’s down right now, but will be up in a few more weeks). Suffice it to say, everyone in the meeting room (we filled the room!) were very impressed by the images. The resolution on this camera is so high that one pixel is enough to separate a building face with the sky!
Photos from the meeting. Attendees, leave your comments below!