Lugging camera gear up above treeline

Gigapan Project

Karma, it’s what people call it sometimes. Seems silly to put a name to it when someone needs a bit of help and you can be the one to help out. “Anyone want to help carry gear up to Greenleaf hut tomorrow?” the facebook post from Jimmy Surette popped up on my screen. I realize that it’s not a glamorous or exciting adventure, but it gets me out from behind the keyboard and at this time of year that’s worth something. Short days and cold rain make for a long transition into winter here in New Hampshire. Jimmy’s a film maker and photographer and his company name is Granite Films and he’s always finding some interesting project to work on, locally or in some far off place. This particular one involves creating mega digital photos called gigapans, named after the company Gigapan. They built this slick little device that has a brain and a camera mount that moves incrementally from left to right, up and down snapping lots of photos of anything, anywhere you can carry the thing. That’s where I come in. Lugging a huge tripod, a gigpan epic, a bunch of lenses and camera bodies is a bit much for one guy – thus the facebook post. The purpose of this trip is to make the second in a set of three gigantic images, this one is a shot of Greenleaf hut and Mount Lafayette ridge in the background. Sarah Garlick, Jimmy’s wife, is curating a exhibition on geology and recreation in the White Mountains for the Museum of the White Mountains.  After being sick for 3 weeks and winter closing in Sarah needed her coughing, wheezing husband to get out and get one more shot of the weathered rocks, wind blown alpine plants and well known hut before the last of autumn faded into white. The first of the set of three was taken of Cannon Cliff from Boise Rock which is across the busy interstate of 93. “You can zoom into individual bolts on the routes” Jimmy tells me while explaining how he does the post processing of these enormous images. Each one being somewhere around 100,000 pixels wide. They take almost an hour to shoot, much more than that to porter all the necessary gear to the right location. We shot three different images that afternoon and enjoyed one of the better days of late fall standing around while a camera snapped away by itself building an image.

The show, coming out in March, promises to be a refreshing mix of interactive digital images, like a gigapan, Jimmy is creating, rock samples, old oil paintings from the height of the White Mountains popularity among painters as well as contemporary images and artwork created not long ago. What makes it interesting to me is that it is pulling together art, recreation, and science. So when Jimmy mentioned what he was involved in I jumped at the chance to help out. Look for the coming exhibit this March.

Franconia Ridge in the fading light while shooting a gigapan project

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