One of my plans for coverage of the 100th California Rodeo Salinas was to make a highly detailed panorama, one that people in the crowd might be able to see themselves in, that would show the breadth and scope of the event in a single frame — as well as being something new and different for my newspaper’s website.

instead of buying the small robotic picture-taking device, we rented one from in Tennessee.

The 10-day rental gave me enough time to practice with the Gigapan, which is actually quite easy to use.

You calibrate it for your camera’s field of view, you set the upper left and lower right corners of your image area, and away it goes.

It even comes with stitching and uploading programs to get your Gigapan image assembled and displayed online.

I had trouble with subject movement while shooting — women on horseback got cut in half, leaving bizarre floating torsos and unattached hoofed limbs. Some work in Photoshop to manually stitch the images cleared that up, but I needed quite a bit of computer power — at one point I was working with a one-gigabyte image with 13 layers.

Zoom in and poke around the image above, there’s plenty to see.

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