This photography project has been in the works for more than two years, and to be honest, I’m a little afraid to let it see the light of day. After investing that much time, it’s easy to be a harsh critic. If I don’t publish it now, however, I may never do it. So here it is.
One day in October of 2013, I looked out the window of my office at the mountain covered in golds, yellows, and reds and decided I was officially done sitting at my desk. I grabbed my camera and ran outside to take a photo. I had an idea, though. Having been inspired by the large format film photography of Rodney Lough Jr. (my photographic hero) with his giant prints that are sometimes nine feet wide, I wanted to start creating photos with the same amount of detail, depth, and grandeur.
To do this with my prosumer digital camera (a Nikon D3100), I had to get a little creative. Since I can’t even come close to the resolution of large format film with my 14 megapixel CMOS card, I faked the resolution by taking a ton of photos and then stitching them together in Photoshop.
I started at the bottom and took overlapping photos all the way across the mountain before moving up slighting and doing another row. In all, I took more than 25 individual photos that I combined into one giant image (about 26,000 x 6,000 pixels). This is the final result:
A little while later when the snow started to fall, I left my office once again to take a photo of this beautiful mountain that sits so close to my office building. I did the exact same thing and took more than 25 photos which I stitched together into a giant photo.
After the second time, I got an idea. I figured if I captured all four seasons from the exact same vantage point using the same process, I would then have four identical photos which I could then merge into one giant image that showed all of the seasons on the same mountain.
I took another photo (or 25 photos, rather) in the spring, but I later decided I didn’t like it, so I waited a full year to try it again.
I just plain forgot to take a summer photo that first year, so I had to wait until the next year as well.
At this point, I had four huge photos (each one made up of 25+ images at around 100MB total) of the exact same mountain from the exact same location and the exact same angle. Theoretically, I should be able to overlay each of them to create a seamless photo where all of the seasons mesh into each other.
After hours upon hours of tweaking and moving to get everything perfectly aligned, I was able to merge all four photos into one image showing the transition of the seasons from spring to winter:
To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely content. After two years and several attempts, I feel like I could still do better. Who knows? This could end up being a 10-year project with no end in sight.