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Tips & Tricks

900 Megapixel Portraits With a Canon 5D MK II

By Kishore Sawh on April 2nd 2014


We generally view photography as an art, because it’s still human driven. Composing, clicking the shutter release, setting the lighting, it’s all the foray of the artist. If you recall in Oscar Wilde’s wildly phenomenal ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray,’ the portrait painter Basil, says of painting to his friend Harry, “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is the portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion.”

When looked at it this way, it’s easy to conjure that photos are the same. That a portrait tells more, if not, then at least as much about the photographer as the subject. Looking at Daniel Boschung’s portraits then, some 600 image worth composites, 900 million pixels dense, really does beg the question, what is Daniel about?

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Boschung has created some ultra high resolution portraits, each with a resolution approximately 264 times higher than that of a normal DSLR, given a certain size of medium, and each can magnified and viewed by a factor of 20 or more, on any screen of your choosing. This means all details are magnified.

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The process is highly involved and dubbed ‘Art Cartography.’ The sitter has to remain seated and still for around 20-30 minutes while a robot with a camera attached to it takes hundreds of macro photos, which are stitched together to form the final image. The ABB industrial robot is manipulated by a control software, which was developed solely for this role. Essentially the human element was the writing of the code, and the programming of the robot’s actions. The rest is execution of an algorithm, it seems. There is something else that lends to the unfeeling nature of the results though, and according to Boschung it’s because

Emotions are completely missing. Emotions show up only briefly while Macro photography takes half an hour. The person has to stay motionless while being photographed by the robot.


The camera and lens used aren’t nearly as unusual as the project; a Canon 5D Mark II with a 180mm macro lens transformed into a tele centrical lens. For his flash installation his uses the Broncolor Scoro S 32000 RFS 2, which he finds to be one of a small handful of flash generators able to perform and cope with the tedious demands of ROBOPHOT. Those demands are short flash frequencies, constant light temps, and fast recycling time.

[REWIND: PornBurger. Sexy Food Porn That Will Make Your Mouth Water]

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Any photographer who shoots headshots, or portraits, knows that the sometimes shooting people close up without make-up and a very sharp lens will show every minute flaw. It’s something I’m hyper aware of when photographing people. But you’ve really gotta be brave to get in front of Daniel’s lens. Go to his website and explore the gallery. Zoom in fully to any photo and it’ll appear some alien landscape. It’s completely amazing.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rick

    That’s pretty neat. Can you imagine retouching such images?

    Would have been fun to leave an “easter egg” somewhere; perhaps in the catchlights.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Rick, hi there! thanks of posting. I had the SAME notion when learning about this. I feel as though editing would be so tedious, but the rewards so great. I mean you have so much more to sample from. – but by God so much more to correct. If you take a gland especially around the mouth area of all those photographed, the hairs around the bottom lip are pretty astonishing. Though nothing pretty about it. Pores turn into manholes at this magnification, hairs into logs, and wrinkles into fault lines.

      Good idea about the easter egg. That didn’t occur to me, but on something this size, it would make it interesting. Cheers

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