You want how many, how big? (pt. 2)

Picture: Panorama looking out over the Mission District from Delores Park, San Francisco, California

Image: Panorama looking out over the Mission District from Delores Park, San Francisco, California
Click on the photo to see the image larger.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I’d been working on a pretty big image. The 10×80′ panorama of redwood trees was the largest print ever made of one of my pictures in over two decades. Well, that record didn’t even last half a year.

Recently I received a call from a referred client who had one of the most demanding jobs I’ve ever encountered in my career. It wasn’t just what they were asking for, but more by how fast they needed the work done. So here’s what they needed:

3:00pm Wednesday the client calls needing a quote for (8) 10′ x 95′ (Feet) panoramic photos of (4) notable San Francisco neighborhoods; two each from Chinatown, the Mission District, North Beach, and Fisherman’s Wharf. (These were going to be used as photographic display banners for an event, to represent the actual parts of the city.)

BUT… they needed all the finished and sized images to their printer in San Francisco by noon on Friday.

From first call to deadline was about 45 hours. Fortunately, my experience of working with the other large panorama images gave me a good idea of what to expect. The only problem was that there’d be absolutely no room for error. (This is part of what defines a professional – you have to deliver.)

As if the assignment wasn’t already stress-inducing enough, on Wed. evening at 9:00pm, my main-production computer suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, loosing my entire user profiles, all of my software presets & preferences, etc. I went into full panic mode. Fortunately my wife stepped in (as the angel she is) and worked until 1:00am in the morning with an on-call web-based tech support company to at least get my machine back up and running.

Picture: Panorama of Chinatown looking toward the Bay Bridge, San Francisco, California

Image: Panorama of Chinatown looking toward the Bay Bridge, San Francisco, California
Click on the photo to see the image larger.

Yes, I got the job done – with more than 2 hours to spare. I shot Thursday, and spent an all-nighter through Friday morning working at my computer like a college kid cramming for finals.

And another thing which has never happened to me before: the client was so pressed for time, they weren’t even be able to choose which images they would get. I had to do that myself. Fortunately I’m part photo editor, too. By the time the clients first saw the what the photos looked like, they were already at the printer. Even more fortunately, the client loved them!

To see how the photos were used, check out these images graciously provided courtesy of fellow photographer, Gustavo Fernandez, who photographed the event. Gustavo specializes in weddings, portraits, and events. You can see more of his work on his web site at


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9 Comments on “You want how many, how big? (pt. 2)”

  1. Monte Trumbull Says:

    Wow. That is impressive Gary! Glad you were able to pull it off. Sounds like it was a little stressful, but the results look great!

  2. David Leland Hyde Says:

    You are awe inspiring, Gary. I couldn’t handle that job with everything else I have going on all the time. I would just say no. However, I bet it paid off well for you. They look fantastic. Someone has to do this kind of work. Might as well be the guy who is most up to the task. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing what is possible.

  3. Mark Says:

    Impressive to say the least Gary. I am sure it has won you some future referrals as well. Glad the stress and hard work had a good ending.

  4. Jack Johnson Says:

    Remarkable photos & job, Gary! Maybe we should talk about computer backup systems sometime, though… ;^D

    — Jack

  5. Michael E. Gordon Says:

    Great story, and congrats, Gary. 48 hours to produce and have printed images this large sounds tremendously stressful. I hope you were compensated well!

  6. Eloine Says:

    Impressive story and very typical it seems on the turn around. I don’t understand why it always has to be that way but you sure did nice work and you have a great portfolio piece!

  7. Richard Wong Says:

    Very nice Gary. Pulling off panoramics of those places is not an easy feat!

  8. Gustavo Fernandez Says:

    Rock on brother! Great job!

  9. Greg Russell Says:

    This is impressive–congratulations on the assignment, the fantastic images, and for dealing with the speed bumps life threw at you. All of that does indeed take a true professional.

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