Utrecht, 360°, 2016

6 gigapixel (!) panorama photo

View the full panorama on GigaPan.

One day, after borrowing a pair of binoculars I confirmed that I could not only see Amsterdam, but also Rotterdam and The Hague and many other interesting landmarks from the top of a building in Utrecht. I just had to find out every landmark I could see. So I wanted to map it all out. To do that, I had to make a panorama photo on the clearest day, so I could see as far as possible. I started studying weather patterns to find out when the ideal period would be, which was from the end of Februari to somewhere in March, as there would be very little humidity, often clear days and the trees would still be empty.

When the perfect day came I borrowed and rented some equipment (including a 300 mm lens), got some friends to help me and was able to make 100’s of shots in about an hour, manually on a tripod. But then came the hard part: stitching them all together. I tried a whole bunch of different software but eventually used PTGui. The photo was so massive, however, I had to do it in 4 parts, which I then stitched together in Photoshop. I had to cheat a little due to some parallax effects. But here we are: a massive 6 gigapixel panorama photo.

But I wasn’t done yet. I wanted to find out exactly what I could and couldn’t see. So I mapped out all the buildings from the panorama photo by drawing lines in Google Earth. I was able to find out most buildings I could see, including some distant ones. A TV tower in Haarlem, 44 km away, buildings in The Hague, 54 km, Chimneys and TV tower in Rotterdam, 52 km, Dordrecht, 45 km, a power plant in Geertruidenberg, 47 km away. Below are photos of a few interesting landmarks.

This project taught me a lot about photography and panorama photos. One day I might have another go, with a slightly better lens and some different settings. The furthest distance in the photo should be about 55 km away. It’s great that one can see so far in a flat country like the Netherlands. However, on July 16, 2016, Marc Bret made a photo using a 1200 mm lens with a furthest distance of 443 km.

If you were to print this image (280,000 pixels wide) with a standard printer (300 DPI), it would be 933,33 inches which is 2370 cm or 23,7 meters wide.

Amsterdam, Zuidas
Amsterdam, Zuidas
Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Utrecht Central Station
Utrecht Central Station
Utrecht, Station Area
Utrecht, Station Area
Utrecht Stadium and Wijk bij Duurstede
Utrecht Stadium and Wijk bij Duurstede
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Breukelen (Brooklyn) and Haarlem (Harlem)
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Breukelen (Brooklyn) and Haarlem (Harlem)
Amsterdam, Amstel and Bijlmer
Amsterdam, Amstel and Bijlmer
Douwe Egberts, Woerden and Den Haag
Douwe Egberts, Woerden and Den Haag
Landmarks visible
Landmarks visible
Weather data from 2010 to 2016 (KMNI De Bilt)
Weather data from 2010 to 2016 (KMNI De Bilt), including visibility (+ average), temperature, wind, humidity and cloud cover. Yes that’s how far I went.