TIME’s Iconic Freedom Tower Panorama Was Born in Pittsburgh

A one billion pixel photo of the Pittsburgh skyline inspired the TIME magazine cover.




Photos via Mike Franz and Gigapan
 

 

In March, TIME magazine released one of the most breathtaking cover spreads of all-time — a panoramic view of New York City from the top of the recently completed One World Trade Center building.

The stunning image wasn’t Photoshopped, as some first suspected. It was a single shot taken with a super-high-resolution gigapixel camera that was attached to the top spire of the Freedom Tower — .33 miles above the ground. 

The initial reaction from social media: How in the world did they do that?!

It turns out that the idea was born in Pittsburgh.

In March 2013, gigapixel photographer Mike Franz visited Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute to discuss applications for Gigapan photography. TIME photo editor Jonathan Woods, also in attendance that day, was intrigued by media applications for the technology, which takes hyper-detailed panoramic photos comprised of one billion pixels.

After the meeting, Franz sent Woods a photo he had taken while wandering around Pittsburgh's North Shore.



(Click to view the full image)
 

Sufficiently wowed, Woods commissioned the audacious cover shoot for TIME.

Those who aren’t prone to vertigo can take a dizzying look at how Franz and the Gigapan team scaled the tallest skyscraper in the western hemisphere for the shot. Franz couldn’t help but take a selfie at the top.





 

The interactive 3D panorama on TIME’s website shows the true magnitude of New York City’s gorgeous, sprawling glory. But we’ll take a special kind of pride in knowing that a shot of our own beautiful city helped to greenlight the ambitious project.  



 

#Props: East Liberty gets a shout in USA Today as an up-and-coming neighborhood to explore

The East Liberty tale is one that mirrors the classic underdog story: The neighborhood that slumped in the '60s has become a hot bed of activity within the past several years — it’s a destination for dining, shopping, fitness and living. It's part working-class and newfangled development, thanks to gentrification; there's no doubt it's got character. A recent USA Today post mentions S'Liberty along with nine other U.S. cities that have enjoyed the "most promising and unlikely rebirths." We hate to say it, but we’ve known it all along. See what we love about East Liberty in our 90 Neighborhoods feature.



 

#Stars: Don Draper is coming to PNC Park

“Mad Men” star and Golden Globe Award winner Jon Hamm and the left-handed Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Rinku Singh will be attending the Pittsburgh Pirates v. the Cardinals game at PNC Park at 8:05 p.m. Sunday evening. Hamm will be playing the role of J.B. Bernstein in Disney’s production of “Million Dollar Arm.” The movie that releases May 16 tells the story of Bernstein’s discovery of athletic talent in two young men living in the city of Mumbai.

— Georgia Templeton


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

More From The 412

Oakland Adding 138 Apartments Perfect for Students

Oakland Adding 138 Apartments Perfect for Students

The 13-story complex is aimed at easing the housing crunch near the University of Pittsburgh campus.
Kevin Sousa’s Superior Motors Breaks a Kickstarter Record

Kevin Sousa’s Superior Motors Breaks a Kickstarter Record

The chef’s ambitious campaign to open a restaurant in Braddock becomes the site's most-funded restaurant project to date.
See How Spectacular Pittsburgh Can Look Just Before Dawn

See How Spectacular Pittsburgh Can Look Just Before Dawn

11 sensational pictures snapped just before sunrise.
POTUS is Coming to Town and He’s Bringing Some Cool Helicopters

POTUS is Coming to Town and He’s Bringing Some Cool Helicopters

President Obama is set to visit U.S. Steel’s West Mifflin plant on Wednesday. Will he have time for Pamela’s?
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

19 Pittsburgh-Area Burgers That We Love

19 Pittsburgh-Area Burgers That We Love

PM dining critic Hal B. Klein spent months eating scores of hamburgers in and around Pittsburgh. Find out how he narrowed his list down to 19 — and see which ones made the cut.
Meet 3 Butchers of the 'Burgh and Pittsburgh's ‘Brisket Boss’

Meet 3 Butchers of the 'Burgh and Pittsburgh's ‘Brisket Boss’

We visit Salem's halal butcher shop, the butchery program at Whitfield restaurant and the Butcher on Butler. Plus, smoking tips from the Brisket Boss.
The Region's Top Dentists 2017

The Region's Top Dentists 2017

Our annual list, which contains 369 dentists in the region, as determined by topDENTISTS.
Showtime Brothers: A Tale of Two Hollanders

Showtime Brothers: A Tale of Two Hollanders

In the 13 years since CBS’ ‘The Guardian’ went off the air, the Mt. Lebanon-raised siblings who inspired and wrote the series, Scott and David Hollander, have continued to export Pittsburgh nationally.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Meet Rescued Animals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Meet Rescued Animals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The new Live Animal Encounters program introduces museum visitors to rescued wildlife.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Feast Series Returns to Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland This September

Feast Series Returns to Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland This September

The third iteration of the series will feature chef J.J. Johnson, formerly of The Cecil and Minton's Supper Club in Harlem.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

The tacos-and-tequila bar and restaurant on the South Side doesn't do anything wrong, exactly, but has room to grow.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

As the team prepares the inaugural class of its Hall of Honor, Mike Prisuta selects the four members of the Steelers family most deserving of inclusion.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

No. 14 Boutique in Lawrenceville put together this chic outfit for the tricky period when summer cools into autumn.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

Reviews of "The Hitman's Bodyguard" and "Wind River," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Close to a half dozen local businesses, among them Savannah Hayes and Stak Ceramics, will make their debut next week at the mega interior design and home goods-focused show in New York City.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments