It is an absolutely stunning panoramic photograph of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain. But this is no ordinary snapshot. Besides the gorgeous scenery there’s something incredibly special about this photograph that’s never been done before. This record photo is one you must see to believe! But first, let me explain why this photo is so remarkable.
If you've been looking at digital cameras or smartphones in the last decade, you know that "megapixels" are a big selling point. You might also notice that the race to have the camera with the most megapixels has mostly died down. Depending on the gadget, the number of megapixels has settled into a certain range. Smartphones have anywhere from 1.3 to 16 megapixels, although models in the Nokia Lumia series have a massive 41MP. For most standalone cameras, 10 to 20 megapixels is normal.
That's because people figured out that when you're printing a 4x6 or 8x10 image, having more pixels only improves image quality to a certain point. After that point, the extra detail isn't noticeable unless you're printing a giant poster or zooming in using a computer.
Helpful terms: A pixel is a single point of light. A megapixel is 1 million pixels, and a gigapixel is 1,000 megapixels, or a billion pixels.
Of course, that hasn't stopped photographers from building special equipment to push how many pixels they can cram into an image. I remember when single digit gigapixel images were a big deal, but we're well past that now.
In fact, photographer Filippo Blengini has just released a new image that's a record-breaking 365 gigapixels. You have to see this.
Blengini's picture is of the tallest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc, which sits at the border of Italy and France. He and his team shot 70,000 photographs in 35 hours over two weeks.
It then took two months to stitch the 46 terabytes of images together into one photo. If the photo were printed, it would be the size of a soccer field.
Here's a behind-the-scenes video of the process:
Finally, here's the image:
OK, it doesn't look impressive at this size, however, you can zoom all the way in to see things like this:
That's the writing on the cable car. In the panoramic image above, this is the speck in the middle to the left.
If you want to explore this amazing image for yourself, head over to the online viewer. Just note that if you have a slower Internet connection, moving around the image could take a little while.