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Sarah Anne
I'm pretty weird.
I'm pretty weird.


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"Coit Tower #1" ,  View from Lombard Street, San Francisco
Over 1.3 billion views. Thanks!
A 25,000 pixel-wide panorama made from 30 images in the middle of the busy Lombard Street drop-off. I live to tell the tale! See the 1920x1200 pixel version!

30 portrait oriented photos, each carefully focused 
Canon 5D mark II 
Canon 400L 5.6 lens (this lens is incredibly sharp!)
8 to 20-sec. exposures @F8- F16 (depending on DOF needs)
ISO 160
No Lee neutral density soft grad filters.
No polarizer, no HDR (though HDR can come in handy here)
RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One
TIFF file processed with Photoshop cs4
Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod
Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip ball head
AutoPano stitching software, plus some manual stitching

The Story

Okay, this is the classic view from the top of Lombard street that people can't resist shooting. Cable cars stop right here just so people can get out and shoot it. I've been wanting to get a really huge photo of this place so finally I picked a good clear evening with very little twinkling that causes distortions in 400mm shots.

The biggest problem is that there is a light post on the left side that gets in the way unless you set up almost in the middle of the busy street. So what I did was shoot part of this panorama in the middle of the street  to avoid the bright street light, and the rest slightly on the left side. People were really wondering what I was doing. I had to bail out many times when cars came too close. Many had questions. Like, why not use a machine to automate the pano taking process? A: It was windy and those machines wobble in the wind. I used a plastic bucket and a round piece of plywood to rotate the lens. Q: Are you doing an HDR? No, if the light is just right, you don't need it, but the good light lasts only a few minutes. Plus it would take several evenings to get all the shots I wanted if I were taking 3-5 shots of each frame. I did this all in one evening during a 10-minute period. I just barely squeezed it in. I was ready to go back the next decent night to finish it off but this works for me. In my gigapixel images, I need at least 3 evenings to do one when the light is just right.

This can be printed 15 ft. wide @200DPI. And the pixels are sharp and clean too!

Other stuff

My pictures are featured on the front page of California Governor, Jerry Brown's website


I wrote a 325 eBook that describes exactly how I went about learning photography starting in 2006. I did not learn the usual way. I have studied the great masters of painting and hope to find that light in the real world.

For everything else, go to my website:

A great weather mashup map of the world with local temperatures, weather and nice popups. See where it is hot and not! (Must wait for slow commercials first, but worth it!)
Google Earth

Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.

Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)

Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)

Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')

Or Here:

Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.
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Don't forget to show us your #LeapSecond! Here's how we spent ours #NotTheSame
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Google made this for me.
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