VAST photography collective creates ‘highest resolution fine art photographs ever made’
A group of photographers are working together to take gigapixel photography to the next level, and they’re doing it under a collective called VAST. Founded by photographer and software engineer Dan Piech, the VAST collective combines artistic skills with technical skills to produce high-quality, Fine Art gigapixel photographs.
Unlike typical gigapixel photography, these images feature scenes that are difficult to produce in massively high resolutions, such as photos taken around sunrise and sunset.
Talking about the collective and the work they do, founder Piech said, “We’ve developed a number of new techniques for doing some pretty amazing things that allow us to have the best of both worlds: resolution + aesthetics.”
Whereas common panoramas may involve only a few photos stitched together, these gigapixel photos require creators to assemble hundreds of images, the end result being an incredibly detailed, sharp photo for large printed pieces.
Huge amounts of time and work go into creating gigapixel shots, but the process doesn’t necessarily require expensive rigs.
As explained in a blog post by Ben Pitt, this 7 gigapixel photo of San Francisco was taken using “a normal tripod and an inexpensive ultra-zoom camera [the Panasonic FZ200].” That particular gigapixel photo is composed from 1,229 images captured across 16 rows, each with about 75 images. The shooting alone took more than an hour.
Stitching the images was, in the case of the San Francisco photograph, performed over the course of many hours using the automated and free Windows application ICE, though alternatives are available like GigaPan Stitch and PTgui. Photoshop was tapped for post-processing, used to patch in content from the original images when necessary, among other things. The resulting Photoshop files can be many gigabytes in size.
You can find out more about VAST’s own technique here.
VAST offers prints of these photographs, as well as others spanning categories like Abstract, Cityscapes and B&W. Price depends on the image and size—one example, the ‘Requiem for 2016‘ image of New York City shown above, starts at $2,745 for a 60 x 21″ print of the 6,410 megapixel image. The full gallery of available prints can be viewed here.