In Spring 2003 I traveled through the Southwest with my family. One of the many destinations was Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ. I didn't have have DSLR back then and was shooting with a Minolta Dimage7 - a 5 Megapixel camera. I also brought with me an "awesome" $19.99 Walmart tripod with wobbling legs - it was really bad. Nevertheless, we were sitting on the back of that truck that brought us from the dusty parking lot on the the dusty "road - it was a dry river - to the dusty Antelope Canyon. It wasn't that crowded back then and absolutely amazing - it was possibly the first time I thought photography could be something for me, I was so passionate and didn't want to leave, I was just shooting and my family annoyed ;)
The one below was my favorite picture of that day which I later posted to Flickr and Wikimedia Commons:
Fast forward a few years:
A Denver architect approached me in May 2010 asking to license that picture for a project they were doing in Arizona. As I didn't have the right to use the images commercially (you need t ask for permission from the Navajo's and I never thought of that, back then…), I released it under Creative Commons. I therefore gave them the permission to use my photograph for their project - they mentioned that they wanted to create a big print out of it but I had no idea HOW big…
A couple of months later, I got a first picture from the construction site and that's when I realized the size of that thing. They were constructing new dorm buildings for the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ and one entire side of the entrance building was covered with my picture.
Their Explanation of the process:
"University of Arizona, Tucson – on the southwest corner of the campus the student housing project has a study room with tall glass walls. These walls are protected from the sun by copper anodized aluminum perforated panels. The panels are punched part way through and then the ‘tabs’ are bent out to create a shadow. Collectively the shadows come together to form the image. The image was created by sending the photograph through a computerized machine that interprets all of the shadows based on a gradient from light to dark. Then the tabs are punched at various angles to create the image."
The close-up's below give you an idea how it was made:
The project has been completed in the meantime but I don't have the exact measurements yet but I guess it's at least 30 feet tall so think about that next time you complain that your camera doesn't have enough megapixels - even the iPhone as more now…
Unfortunately, I haven't seen the finished project myself but it's definitely on my bucket-list to shoot.
Oh, almost forgot: If you are a photographer living in or near Tucson, AZ and want to create a great picture of that builidng, prefarable at dusk or dawn, shoot me a comment or email, would u?