Summing Up An Entire Day In One Photo

Peter Langehahn is a photographer from Germany who approaches most of his images a bit differently than most of us. Instead of photographing a single moment, Peter captures the "collective scene" of an entire event. Standing at just one vanishing point, Peter takes panoramic images throughout each event and combines them in a unique composite image that features the best moments throughout the day. Sometimes these images total over 3000 captures and the edits can take up to 60 - 90 days. I must say I've never seen anything like this but it's definitely a way of branding your own photography into something no one will forget. I'm sure someone out there has done something like this before; what are your thoughts on this technique?

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Joop van Roy's picture

Simply awesome! Very well executed by the looks of it. a little over a thousand euros seems cheap for the amount of work put in though.

Lee Morris's picture

very cool concept about attention to detail

Martin Beebee's picture

Started out thinking "gimmick," but ended up thinking "pretty cool." I especially like the soccer/football foul image -- more of a theme than just a smorgasbord.

angus mordant's picture

If it takes him that long to edit he is either has a poor workflow or is taking his time.  

Lee Morris's picture

That's true, I agree this is hard but it seems like a few days in front of a computer should do it 

angus mordant's picture

Exactly, It isn't easy but it's not very difficult. The camera is in a fixed position so it's not really a composite simply some basic masks would do it in a day at most.

Patrick Hall's picture

in the video he is clearly panning, so I'm not sure it's as easy as just masking people in.  I'm sure he has to resize and layer exactly on some of the rotated images.  

angus mordant's picture

Photoshops inbuilt settings will merge them while you watch TV in another room quiet nicely.

It shows him panning in the video, but i really don't think he pans for the final image. The reason I say this is because:

1.He really doesn't need to pan, just as long he could get the whole field(arena) in one shot.
2.He is using a fisheye, which would mean that if he panned and stitched together than there would be double arcs(line distortion would be doubled and would create a W effect on the bottom horizontal lines.
3.panning would make his post work flow alot harder, it would be much much easier to shoot from a fixed position and than layer and mask in photoshop.

The only reason he would have to pan is to catch the important person in the middle of each frame(as to not distort the person because of the fisheye, the middle of a fisheye is not distorted very much but the top, bottom, right, and left sides of the frame are heavily distorted.

But even if he was panning, it still wouldn't be too hard to put all the images together. All he would have to do is take an establishing shot(a shot showing the whole field and with the least people) and then take first frame with an important person in it, put it under the establishing layer, drop the opacity of the establishing layer to about 20%, so that you can see through the establishing layer onto the first important person layer and than mask the important person into the establishing layer.

because the panning was done from the same fixed distance, the subject(players) really wont be to different in size. and even if they were different sizes you could just layer the wrong size image ontop of the right size image, drop the opacity of the wrong size layer(layer 2) so you can see through to the right size layer and than re-size the wrong size layer until the subject of the wrong layer matches the size of the right layer and then just mask.

The whole idea is really just an elaborate multiplicity, really not very hard, and not nearly as time consuming as they say in the video.

Not to discredit the photographer, these photos are awesome and are very well done.

however I am only 17, photographing for just a couple of years and I could pull this off pretty easily.

Chris Blizzard's picture

If he doesn't need to pan, and just uses a fisheye, he must have one hell of a camera!!!   The motocross one he states can be printed at up to 4 meters by 2 meters without loss of detail.   Now I'm going to assume 240dpi on this, but if he's still at 300 dpi then this will be higher...   That means the resolution of the shot is just over 737MP.

Now, any modern version of photoshop will be able to align all the images for you, but with that many, it's going to take time.   depending on your computer speed it might take anywhere up to a few days of processing for the hundreds of shots included.   I'd guess the hardest, most time consuming thing will be choosing which shots to use.   You'll have bursts of so many different events, choosing which events to unclude in the final shot will be hard, then choosing the frame to use...   It will all take time.

The actual "work" part of it is probably fairly easy, but I'd imagine that every single little tweak you make to the image would use so many computer resources than a simple levels adjustment could take a few hours for the computer to catch up.

I love taking these types of photos with my friends on BMX photoshoots.

I love taking these types of photos with my friends on BMX photoshoots.

I believe he makes a high-res base layer made via a matrix (maybe 10 high x 15 wide shots) of photos before the action starts, this layer is assembled in post in PS. When the activity starts he continually follows the action and shoots when needed, these shots are then masked removing their original backgrounds and layered above the matrix base layer.  

Gregory's picture

I already use this concept with motorcycle race, but only to show evolution of one bike accross a turn. Don't even think about applications like this.
It's a titan work, I love it !

Thomas Hayden's picture

Peter is a skilled gigapixel photographer who has broken out with a technique that a few of us are using.  He is shooting with a pano head, which precisely fixes the position of the camera where he needs it at regular intervals so he can create a stitch of the arena in terms of rows and columns.  This is the same technique being employed on U2's 360 Tour and at many sports and entertainment events across the world now with Facebook-integrated tagging.

Once he knows he has the structure captured, he can go back through the settings through of the field of play and shoot the action shots.  I imagine he is just constantly shooting most of the event. 

I've produced a few of these mashups of space and time, most noteably this one with The Old 97's and the Sarah Jaffe Band at the Doug Fir in Portland, OR - - Sarah Jaffe is watching her own sound check and most of the people in the image appear twice.

Peter's work has definitely inspired me to do more.

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