Technical considerations


  • Digitized using a Phaseone Powerphase FX 4 x 5 digital camera back
    • 8,400 x 6,000 pixels
    • Equivalent to 50 megapixel digital camera
    • Mounted on Polaroid MP4+ Copy Stand
  • Illuminated with 2 high-end fluorescent lights at 45 degree angles, to prevent glare
    • 110 W at 3,200 K
    • Illumination on composites about 1,300 Lux
    • UV filters over the lights were used

Many of the technical hurdles were caused by the sheer size of the composite photographs. As they were not removed from their frames, the photos were very heavy, often requiring several people to transport them from Archives, which is located on the top (5th) floor, to the Imaging Centre which is located in the basement of the Library. One especially large composite, measuring approximately 5 x 7 feet, would not fit into the elevator, and had to be carried down many flights of stairs, manoeuvred through doorways and around book stacks before finally arriving at its destination in the basement. Lighting for the larger photographs was difficult as well. Attempting to evenly illuminate the massive composite photographs was a challenge at best, made even more challenging by the limited confines of the Imaging Centre.

A few of the photographs, due to their oversize dimensions, required digitisation using multiple shots and digital "stitching" to merge them together. Generally these were completed using two shots, which essentially doubled the resolution of a single shot file. These massive composites, not surprisingly, translated into massive digital files that required the processing power of a Mac G5 with dual 2 GHz and 2 GB SDRAM. Even with all of this power, image manipulation was sluggish for many of the files. The file for the biggest composite became so large during the digital stitching process that its file size exceeded Photoshop's limit of 2GB. This resulted in the inability to save it as a working PSD (Photoshop) file.