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Seal Harbor at Sunset

952 MEGAPIXELS
A close-up of "Seal Harbor at Sunset" by Aaron Priest: an ultra-high-resolution VAST photo.
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952 megapixels!
952 megapixels!
952 megapixels!
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952 megapixels! A very high resolution, large-format VAST photo of a New England harbor with boats at sunset; fine art landscape photograph created by Aaron Priest in Seal Harbor, Maine

Seal Harbor at Sunset

952 MEGAPIXEL VAST PHOTO
Seal Harbor, Maine

A lot of effort goes into a VAST photo, especially at sunset with rapidly changing light and in a harbor with moving boats and waves. There are several stages of work to any good photo: planning, shooting, post-processing, printing / display, and with panoramas you have to add stitching and blending of course. The planning phase is probably the most critical for a successful stitch later though. Location and time of day are obviously two important steps of planning, as is choosing your subject and field of view to know what focal length and aperture would best isolate your subject or place your subject in its environment. You may even have several subjects in a wide landscape. In this scene, the color of the sky, the reflection on the water, and the people getting off the boat on the pier were what I chose to be my focus. I let the railing and edge of shoreline be the natural border of the scene. I don’t always center my horizon line, but for a reflection it emphasizes the mirrored effect and it juxtaposed the dipping arch of the boats in the foreground lined up left to center below the horizon and the rising arch of the hill in the background from center to right above the horizon. The swooping S through the scene helps break up the centered horizon line.

Next was choosing my focal length, once I knew how much of the scene I was going to shoot. The horizontal angle of view was 160° wide, and it would take a non-existent 3.2mm lens to cover such an extreme angle, so it goes without saying that stitching multiple photos was obviously going to be the answer. But what focal length? 40mm would have covered the vertical field of view with a single row in portrait orientation and taken 6 images to reach 158° wide with a 25% overlap, but the resolution would only be 167 megapixels and I wanted much more detail, especially of the people on the distant dock. On the other hand, at 200mm it would have taken 31 columns of 6 rows for a total of 186 images and the stitched panorama would be 4.3 gigapixels, but I didn’t feel I had enough time with the people leaving the dock and setting sun to capture that many images. I also had moving boats and waves to contend with. In the end, I settled on 110mm and here’s the critical reason why: it captured the full mast and reflection of the tallest boat in the harbor in a single image, which would make masking and deghosting MUCH easier in post-production later when stitching and blending. It also meant I could capture the entire scene in 51 images (17 columns of 3 rows) before the light disappeared. I turned every 10° horizontally and 15° vertically for about a 39% horizontal overlap and 38% vertical overlap so I would have plenty of material for blending and deghosting moving boats and waves. It took about 6 minutes to capture all the images so the light was fairly consistent and the clouds didn’t move far. I started in the lower left hand corner and zigzagged so I would be shooting the darkest area first and the brightest area last for more even lighting, since the light was fading and the scene was getting darker. I would do the opposite for a sunrise panorama. The final, cropped image wound up being 65899 x 19926 or 1.3 gigapixels, so it was a good compromise and I still hit my goal of a gigapixel.

The hyperfocal distance of a 110mm lens at f/8 is 50m where everything from 25m to infinity should be acceptably sharp. This assumes a much smaller print size than zooming into 100% in a VAST photo though. I probably should have chosen at least f/11 or f/13 for more depth of field, but I was also down to 1/20 shutter speed and up to ISO 200 for an exposure and I didn’t want to raise my ISO to 2500. I couldn’t go with a longer shutter speed either without blurred boats from the waves. So I chose f/8, focused on a boat in the middle of the harbor (30m away), took a couple near and far test shots, and confirmed it was an acceptable compromise. Everything in photography is a compromise, as Joe DiMaggio is fond of saying!

Camera settings: 110mm, f/8, ISO 200, 1/20

Stitching data: 3 rows of 17 images.

Equipment used: Nikon D810, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II, Promote Control, and Really Right Stuff TVC-34L tripod w/ leveling base & pano/gimbal head. RAW conversion in Lightroom, aligned with PTGui, and manually blended via masks in Photoshop. Planned with PhotoPills.

Date & TimeJuly 31, 2016:  8:05pm
LocationSeal Harbor, Maine
Coordinates44.293556, -68.237776
Focal Length110
Aperture8
Shutter1/20
ISO200
Num of Exposures51

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This is not an ordinary photograph.

Its resolution is 4,433% greater than a typical photo. Click on the boxes below to zoom in.

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Canvas print

Our ready-to-hang canvas prints are created using a specialty printer that carefully lays pigment inks down onto archival-quality fine art canvas material. The canvas is then stretched around a 1.5-inch-deep wood support structure to provide depth and elegance. Our canvas material has a delightfully matte finish that looks spectacular in any lighting conditions while retaining maximum vibrancy and contrast. Click here to learn more.

Produced using a specialty, large-format fine art printer operating at 300ppi resolution—the gold standard for sharpness
Printed onto heavyweight, 100% acid-free fine art canvas to preserve color-accuracy and longevity
Created using materials and methods that exceed the rigorous technical standards required to achieve the prized "giclée" industry rating
Designed to meet the most demanding standards for color-permanence set by leading museums
Handmade by award-winning master printmakers with over 4 decades of experience
Optionally accompanied by your choice of elegant floater frame available in a variety of trims
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VAST Print™

A VAST Print™ represents the pinnacle of the photographic medium. Each print is a true photograph created specifically for you using light-sensitive paper exposed in a darkroom with the industry's highest precision exposure technique. Your print is then sealed with a shine-enhancing protective glossy coating*, adhered to a sturdy aluminum composite backing, and finished in one of two ready-to-hang formats:

  • Frameless floating display: A hidden mounting brace on the rear gracefully "floats" the print off the wall for a sleek, modern look.
  • Framed display: The print is mounted inside one of our handcrafted 100% wood frames with a decorative separation between the print and the frame so that the print appears to be floating within the frame, providing depth and elegance to the finished photo.

Click here to learn more.

*Note: a non-glossy, satin matte coating is alternatively available on request.

Certificate of authenticity icon for the VAST Prints photography product.
Certificate of authenticity  
with artist signature
affixed to the back

Mounting brace floats the display
off the wall by 3/4 inch
Metal back
952 megapixels!
Paper print
Shine-enhancing
protective coating
Laser-exposed at a truly unprecedented 610ppi resolution
Created using fine art paper with a specialty emulsion enabling unsurpassed micro-contrast, ultra-bright whites, and deep blacks
Printed with a chromogenic process that produces "continuous tones" of silky smooth color (other printers use noticeable dots of ink)
Sealed between an extra-thick, shine-enhancing protective coating and a sturdy aluminum composite backing for a sleek look
Award-winning product quality recognized industry-wide
Designed to meet the most demanding standards for color-permanence set by leading museums
Handmade by certified master printmakers with over 4 decades of experience
Hand-signed by the artist and accompanied by our digitally-enhanced, holographic certificate of authenticity
Optionally accompanied by your choice of elegant floater frame available in a variety of trims
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Digital file

Due to their record-setting resolutions, VAST photos are the most versatile images ever created, with the quality necessary to look great at any size and in any project. Purchasing one of our standard royalty-free licenses provides you with the digital file at your choice of resolution and a permit to use it for most types of projects. Click here to learn more.

Usage in most media formats*
Unlimited number of projects
Worldwide, perpetual usage
Not for use in products for sale
No use laminated in or onto glass
Non-exclusive

For a premium license that provides exclusivity, glass-related use, or use in products for sale, contact us.

Total Pixels951,932,816 px
Width57,373 px
Height16,592 px
Aspect Ratio3.46 : 1
Date & TimeJuly 31, 2016:  8:05pm
LocationSeal Harbor, Maine
Coordinates44.293556, -68.237776
Focal Length110
Aperture8
Shutter1/20
ISO200
Num of Exposures51

How much resolution do I need?

Here are some rough guidelines for this specific photo:

small
2 megapixels
  • Fine art prints < 9x3 in
  • Marketing prints < 18x5 in
  • Use on webpages at sizes smaller than full‑screen
  • Wallpapers for devices with low‑resolution screens
medium
10 megapixels
  • Fine art prints < 20x6 in
  • Marketing prints < 39x11 in
  • Use on webpages at full‑screen sizes
  • Wallpapers for devices with high‑resolution screens
large
50 megapixels
  • Fine art prints < 44x13 in
  • Marketing prints < 88x25 in
  • Large murals viewed from > 14 ft
  • Massive murals viewed from > 29 ft
huge
250 megapixels
  • Fine art prints < 98x28 in
  • Marketing prints < 196x57 in
  • Large murals viewed from > 6 ft
  • Massive murals viewed from > 13 ft
full file
952 megapixels
  • Fine art prints < 191x55 in
  • Marketing prints < 382x111 in
  • Large murals viewed from > 3 ft
  • Massive murals viewed from > 7 ft
Fine art
prints
(300ppi)
Marketing
prints
(150ppi)
Large
murals
(~20x8 ft)
Massive
murals
(~40x16 ft)
Use on
webpages
Digital
device
wallpapers
small
2 megapixels
< 9x3 in < 18x5 in less than
full-screen use
low-resolution
screens
medium
10 megapixels
< 20x6 in < 39x11 in full-screen use high-resolution
screens
large
50 megapixels
< 44x13 in < 88x25 in if viewers will be
> 14 ft away
if viewers will be
> 29 ft away
huge
250 megapixels
< 98x28 in < 196x57 in if viewers will be
> 6 ft away
if viewers will be
> 13 ft away
full file
952 megapixels
< 191x55 in < 382x111 in if viewers will be
> 3 ft away
if viewers will be
> 7 ft away
Photo id: 10258