Gigapanorama of Moscow from the Ostankino Tower
Our friend and associate, Dmitry Chistoprudov, took a spherical gigapanoramic photo of Moscow from the Ostankino Tower in the summer of 2014, which we are now bringing to your attention. Soon a printed version of this panorama will be displayed in a 360-degree circle on the observation deck of the tower. The initial panorama was 72,000 pixels in size; however, our web site presents a reduced version of 50,000 pixels.
The easiest part of this photo shoot was its organization. Everything else was more difficult. In the eyes of an inexperienced novice, the process might seem simple, but after even one attempt the difficulty becomes apparent...
The only convenient way to shoot with a long-focus lens from the 340-meter level on the Ostankino Tower is to shoot without a tripod. Safety bars created for spectators, who like to sit with their feet dangling over the edge, are major obstacles not only for the suicidal but also for the average photographer. I photographed the small sections at 20-30 degree angles, gradually turning my camera until my lens hit against the next bar. I was periodically pushed and shoved by tourists who poured out on to the observation deck in large, unruly groups, making loud noises, taking their own snap shots and making my photo shoot difficult at times.
From time to time, I was asked to take pictures of lovebirds with their cell phones; I ignored their requests, trying to remember what point I had been at before I was distracted. After shooting the next angle, I checked all the finished shots for sharpness and clarity. One small mistake could be extremely costly.
However, all these problems were nothing in comparison to the clouds. That day the clouds, at a height of 1 — 1.5 km, flew at a rapid pace, constantly changing the lighting of the city. It was not as sunny as I thought it would be in the end. I ran in circles on the observation deck trying to catch areas of the city where there was good lighting. It was not a consecutive shooting of one segment after another; it was a rather chaotic and hectic work. Finally I was completely confused and lost track of what I had shot and what still needed to be completed, so I had to start from the beginning. As a result, I spent 1.5 hours on the entire photo shoot. I happened to take photos of the same sites 2 or 3 times, but the most important thing was that I had managed to cover everything.
Later that night, in the peaceful atmosphere of my home, I spent about four more hours assembling the final version, removing parallax, and putting different shots together according to the lighting conditions...
There is a fragment, marked out by red color, to show the scale of reduced gigapanorama. Below uou will find the fragment in the real size.
Text and photo by Dmitry Chistoprudov
29 October 2014