You want it how BIG? (pt.1)

Picture: Redwood forest panorama, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Humboldt County, California

Image: Redwood forest panorama, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Humboldt County, California
Click on the photo to see the image larger.

I may have previously mentioned in passing that I was working on a pretty big image.

Earlier this year I met with a design team working on a project for a new hotel. I was invited to bid on the project, which involved the creation of some very specific types of images to fit some very specific places. I listened to them discuss their needs, concerns, and requirements. One of their most important criteria was to be able to deliver finished image files at actual size at 300 dpi. (Dots per Inch) I was confident that I could deliver what was being asked, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was a bit awed by the size of the photos they were asking for.

(1) 10′ x 80′ (Feet) image of a seamless redwood forest panoramic image to be printed in glass. This would become the opaque see-through walls of the 700 sq. ft. Grove Room.
(2) approx. 20′ x 45′ (Feet) murals that would represent what you would see sitting in a oak forest, looking straight up through the tree canopy.

I must admit I was delighted at how well my computer handled the task of blending 50-70 RAW image files per scene, and turning out the final print files. In the case of the Redwood Panorama, the finished, single 16-bit image file was about 65Gb.

In the business world, we often encounter a gap which exists between client expectations and… well, reality.

And hence we come to the Reality divide: Unfortunately, even when reduced to 8-bit color for final delivery, the images were so big, the printer & manufacturer the designers had engaged struggled with importing and processing theses huge files. In the end, the simple reality was that they could only process a smaller file at a lower dpi. After weeks of the design team and printers working furiously to produce the best results possible, the hotel has opened with the artwork in place. I must say I’m delighted with the way the finished installations look.

If you’re in Santa Cruz, you can visit this very cool-looking boutique hotel in person, or check out their web site at: Hotel Paradox.

Finally, Check out these great images graciously provided courtesy of fellow photographer, Chris Schmauch, who photographed the hotel and opening reception. Chris is the Owner, Photographer, and Creative Director of GoodEye Photography + Design based out of Santa Cruz, and who specializes in weddings, portraits, architecture, and events. You can see more of his work on his web site at


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9 Comments on “You want it how BIG? (pt.1)”

  1. Richard Wong Says:

    Great work Gary!

  2. Wesley Picotte Says:

    Awesome. Looks amazing and sounds like a terrific project. Congrats!

  3. Ron Says:

    Very cool indeed. Must be a bit disconcerting being in the room. Your eyes tell your brain that you’re outside but logic tells you that you’re inside.

  4. Mark Says:

    I am a bit surprised they wanted something this big a 300 dpi. Impressive to say the least Gary.

  5. Amish Says:

    Wow! That simply is amazing. I was once ‘almost’ commissioned to photograph a large image for a boardroom, but they ended up using someone with a digital medium format camera instead.

  6. QT Luong Says:

    In general in similar project I’d been asked for just 75-100 dpi. What was the final DPI used ?

  7. Greg Russell Says:

    This is super cool, Gary. What fun to be a part of this project! I licensed an image a little over a year ago to the Central CA Children’s Hospital; they wanted to use it as the backdrop for the entryway to the hospital. I have no idea how big they ended up printing it, but I have always meant to stop in on my way to or from Yosemite to check it out…

  8. Alistair Nicol Says:


    This is amazing. Great work. Love seeing the finished product.

    What dpi did they end up at?

    – Alistiar

  9. Jack Johnson Says:

    Awesome, Gary – wish I lived where I could see it in person!

    — Jack

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