March 13, 2010

Gettysburg Visitor Center and Cyclorama

I had a chance to visit the new Gettysburg Battlefield Visitor Center today. This is a completely new facility built about a mile east of the old center on Cemetery Ridge. The new center is really great. The museum is very well done, taking the visitor from the origins of the war through details of the battle and the aftermath. The movie theater played a circa 10 minute film narrated by Morgan Freeman called, "A New Birth of Freedom." The film frames the civil war around the issue of slavery, especially the problem of whether to incorporate the new western states as "slave" or "free."

These photos show some of the displays at the museum. The uniforms and equipment are great references for painting and detailing miniatures.

But the real gem of the center is the restored cyclorama. Originally painted by Paul Philippoteaux and a crew of 5 to 20 men, it has been thoroughly restored and expanded. The $16 million project results in a larger, spectacular image, has a better 3D diorama incorporated into it and has special lighting and sound effects that are quite stunning.

This has got to be the best backdrop ever painted! Check out the close up photo and look for where the 3D scenery transitions into the 2D painting. Click on the upper wide angle photo and examine the water well - half of the well is 3D while the back half is 2D. Seamless integration.

I was able to get these amazingly clear photos using my Canon 5D at ISO 1600 using the safety railing as a temporary "tripod." I panned the camera and combined the images in Photoshop using Photomerge. The images I posed here have are 1,200 to 2,000 pixels. The base images from the photomerge are 8,000 pixels across.

1 comment:

  1. Dave MasonMarch 15, 2010

    I always thought the Cyclorama was great and have seen it a number of times. We will definitely make another trip to Gettysburg to see the new museum.