Andrej Tozon's blog

In the Attic


Deep Zoom Christmas Nativity Scene 2008

Setting up the nativity scene for the Christmas holidays has been my family tradition going back way before I was born. Most figures are dated back to my grandparents era, while the others (mostly sheep) were gathered over the years.

Each year, the scene setup is determined by a couple of factors, like the current inspiration/mood, the place to set it up and starting this this year – accessibility; we really don’t want our little munchkin do some redecoration on her own :) So this year I set it up on the less accessible place and made it a little bit smaller than usual.

At the same time, I wanted to try out the Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor), an amazing (free) piece of software, coming from Microsoft Research, which is doing a brilliant job at stitching your partial photos of the same subject into one really big photo, preserving the original resolution. The latest version has an option to export the final scene as a Silverlight Deep Zoom image, and this was the one that I was interested in trying out.

First, I tried to shoot a large number of really small and detailed photos (like 20 photos in one row by 10 rows), but soon realized that the place wasn’t getting enough light and/or my lenses were not up for the job. Also, this was an experiment rather than a professional job, so instead of bringing in more light, I decided to go smaller (6x4 photos only). Much less time consuming, I tell you… Anyway, I was very doubtful about the final result, because the exposure settings were not consistent throughout all photos and I left the autofocus on. I did try to keep the aperture small and constant for a decent DoF, but the shutter speed value kept going through the roof :)

Now, given the fact that I wasn’t really trying that hard, the final result looks very good for convincing me to give some more time and effort into my next panoramic photo projects.

And here it is – our Deep Zoom-ed Christmas Nativity Scene 2008:

Side note 1: with SeaDragon technology (the one behind Deep Zoom) coming to iPhone [Seadragon Mobile], I can now carry this image with me in my pocket :)

Side note 2: and how’s that for an original nativity scene? :)