Mount Everest, in 3.8B Stunning Pixels

David Breashears compiled image from some 400 photographs

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 20, 2012 1:49 PM CST

(Newser) – The Internet has gone wild over a photo this week, and deservedly so. The image in question: a shot of Mount Everest composed of some 400 individual photographs taken by filmmaker/five-time Everest climber David Breashears. He spoke with NPR about the image, which the Washington Post reports clocks in at 3.82 billion pixels. Visit his GlacierWorks site and you'll be able to zoom in on it in amazing fashion, seeing "not only the tents, but the little climbers" near Camp 3, explains Breashears. His impetus for creating the image wasn't just to please gawkers a few continents away, but to demonstrate climate change's effect on the mountain.

Compared to 20th-century shots of the mountain, "we see a lot less ice. We see less snow cover. We see much more exposed rock in nearly all of the places we visited." In the NPR interview, Melissa Block poses an interesting question: "I wonder if there is some risk in making these pictures, these images that make the mountain seem so approachable." Breashears acknowledges that the thought has crossed his mind, but says, "I can't make that mountain any more compelling than the fact that it's 29,028 feet high, the highest point on our planet." What Breashears is working on now: an interactive tour, complete with audio and video.

The creation of a photo-realistic 3D model of the Himalayas generated from thousands of images collected by David Breashears and his GlacierWorks team.   (URCVentures)
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Everest, in amazing detail.   (URCVentures)

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