An iPad for an idea

We’re all about Big Prints at SmugMug’s HQ, like this 60-foot gigapixel skyline of SF:

Gigapixel San Francisco skyline

That one had to be dark because it’s in an entertainment room where we watch movies.  Here’s a lighter big print in our conference room:

Gigapixel San Francisco Twin Peaks pano

The tragedy is we have a massive stairwell looking empty and sad.  Sad because it doesn’t have the gigapixel wrap-around floor-to-ceiling (150 inches) breathtaking shot it deserves.  Even the dog looks sad:

Massive hallway needing a gigapixel print

All you have to do to get us to send you an iPad is come up with a scene that would make the hallway awesome.  The person who comes up with the idea that excites us most gets the iPad.

There are a few constraints.  One is we’d love a light scene, like maybe colorful fishies near the surface in the great barrier reef.

Another is we have to be able to shoot it or commission some talented photographer to shoot it.  So Saturn’s rings are out.  I dunno, does someone know how to shoot a gigapixel image underwater and stitch it?  Sounds hard.

Our bias is that big photos should let you see fascinating details that you can’t see in small ones.  We have a 144-inch print of Milan Cathedral that gets people to stare in wonder because they can see details they can’t even see by traveling to Milan.

Robert Scoble made a video of our large prints.

We’re pretty geeky, so we like aerospace museums.  Is there one full of coolio planes that would allow us (you?) to shoot for a print that large?  We like exotic car collections, too…

Keep in mind that the viewing distance will be very close.  People aren’t standing back, they’re walking two feet away as they climb the stairs.  They demand awesome detail.

We’ll be watching the comments like hawks and can’t wait to send an iPad to someone!

All the best,

Chris MacAskill (@baldy on Twitter)

Published by

Chris MacAskill

co-founder of SmugMug

355 thoughts on “An iPad for an idea”

  1. I have 2 ideas…One is to have a mountain scene like you’re walking up a mountain trail to the top (or bottom depending which way you’re going on the stairs). The second is a field of wildflowers…The mountain trail is probably my favorite one though.


    1. I was about to suggest the same maintain scene as well but please incorporate the middle short wall (including the cap of the wall) and the ceiling. The ceiling should have the sky maybe with clouds and the sun. Some photo-shopping would be necessary to make it transition smoothly to the other walls.

      The photos of your two rooms are impressive but do look kind of early 80s (thinking of the nature wall papers people used). It’s just not well enough incorporated with the rest of the room and looks very poster like.

  2. What about an almost aerial view from the top of the Swiss (or Italian) Alps. You could almost get the 360 view overlooking some awesome valleys. It would look breathtaking IMO.

    Or…how about the Ngoro Ngoro crater in Tanzania (or just maybe a large scene during migration).

  3. Shoot both sides of river rapids, so it feels like you’re walking up and down in the middle of a river.

    Have someone go to Cape Canaveral, and take a set of pictures next to the Saturn V rocket they have there.

    Grand Canyon?

    Inside of a submarine?

  4. The interior of an igloo would be cool. Or, a big pano of the trunk of a car with a bunch of interesting junk on it. You would have to work to find an interesting trunk, though.😉

  5. Dangerber :
    The interior of an igloo would be cool. Or, a big pano of the trunk of a car with a bunch of interesting junk on it. You would have to work to find an interesting trunk, though.

    I meant “interesting junk IN it”…

  6. You know, Saturn may not be doable, but the inside of the International Space Station would be—with some antigravity fun going on around you to make you feel all floaty as you ascend the stairs. The astronaut photographers also just recently upped their game for photos of Earth from space. I’ve worked directly with a couple of them and could certainly ask. They love what they do.

    1. That might actually be pretty epic. I dunno if they have the ability to shoot several shots from on location to be able to stitch together multiple images to get enough pixels? I’d love it if you asked them.

      1. Just saw your reply and will ask the astronaut photogs I know. Considering how close quarters it is, I don’t imagine getting enough pixels in a stitch would be an issue. One of these guys jury-rigged the out-of-use IMAX camera rig to create a barndoor tracker for long exposures of Earth at night. I’m betting they can figure out a challenge like this.😉

  7. How about a waterfall, top to bottom. Either one big panoramic one to wrap around, Niagara, Angel, Iguazu; or individual ones on each wall, Multnomah, Yosemite, Akaka.

  8. How many times can we submit ideas? Here are some more:

    shoot both sides and forward from a tall pedestrian bridge…preferably over water in in a tropical location😉

    view from the top of Burj Khalifa or have the Burj Khalifa in the image.

  9. One of the things that is intriguing is the shape; angle of the stairs. So there were a few things that pop into my mind. I was thinking Leaning Tower of Pisa on one wall, the Eiffel Tower on the other; laying down. The other ideas play off the stairs as well of an immersion into the Grand Canyon so as the stairs are used, one is climbing up or down into the canyon.

    There is also the Hiller Museum for aviation, such as during the Vertical Challenge one can get into the aircraft, so perhaps a macro larger than life of the control panels.

    Sorry for typos & grammar, I am using a Blackberry.

    Also when, if there is, a deadline?

  10. Steps of one the MoMa museums or an escalator with people on it on either side. If you really wanna play on the steps metaphor, how about a “Stairway to Heaven”?

  11. This is most likely impossible to do but I would fill the whole room with a picture where it looks like you’re walking in a glass walkway seeing the earth below and the sun/stars/moon around you. It would be so nice …

  12. What about a Bourbon Street/New Orleans theme? With Bourbon Street and the buildings on that street depicted long the left and right walls and in the middle have a jazz player either a portrait or a sihouette playing some sweet jazz music. Then again there is nothing wrong with a Battlestar Galactica theme. That would be cool too.

  13. How about Byrce Canyon. You walk down into the canyon from the top and the red/orange colors can be incredible!

  14. Try getting in touch with the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH. They are actually quite photographer friendly and if you wanted to do a stitchup of some of the exhibits it would look really cool on a big print. Their cold war gallery has a great balcony overlooking things like the SR-71, Stratojets, et cetera. There is, of course, the Valkyrie and other doodads in the R&D hangar too…

    The Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington, DC has great aircraft but you can’t even use a mini-tripod or gorillapod in there. They do have a space shuttle and the Concorde, though!

  15. How about a jungle/forest path. Where the trees are on either wall from floor to ceiling and the path trails down the center there. I’ve seen some cool shots of bamboo walk ways too. I can see the vivid green of the tree tops with the bark so real looking someone might try sanding your walls for you. You’d be able to smell the fresh rain falling. I can see it…clearly.

  16. What about the Faces of America ? You could have many photographers submit images of the young, the old, all faces of color of our different nationalities, the disabled, the ordinary and not so ordinary, Hollywood stars to Missisppi farmer. Stitch them all together for one huge images lining the walls.

    How dramatic that would be to stop and look at all those faces ?🙂

  17. I’m envisioning an African scene from the prospective of an elephant that’s part of an elephant caravan. I would have a big elephant butt right out in front with the whole elephant caravan and African landscape surrounding the person as they walk downs the stairs. Almost like you’re part of the caravan.

  18. I see a big bunch of Redwood trees – vertical grandeur from Muir Woods. It goes with the space and would not go out of style!

  19. How about a large panoramic of Crater Lake National Park. It would look as if you were stepping down into the lake or climbing out with it along side the staircase.

  20. Since the stairway is a bit narrow you could do a life sized portrait of something like the Taipei Computer Market at night – with the shops down the sides of the stairwell and street at the end of the staircase. Here’s a shot I have at the location but you’d need to take it from a bit of a higher perspective, perhaps from one of the apartments or on a ladder:

    Taipei Computer Market

    To be honest there are many spots in Asia you could get a similar effect. Or you could go a bit more upscale with a shot of a street in Tokyo – perhaps Ginsa at night.

    A second idea would be something at the Boeing 787 assembly plant/Future of Flight museum. Either the 787 manufacturing line as seen from the observation deck or there are some cool (and very large) tunnels under the facility.


  21. Personally I love alpine meadows. There is a spot in Glacier National Park up near Logan’s Pass called Garden of the Gods. The famed Triple or Double Falls is located in this area, as are tons of waterfalls and beautiful scenes. I would do a double shot with the falls on one side:

    And the awesome waterfalls and alpine meadows on the other:

    A sunrise shot would have the sun right in your face, and has created some famous views of the falls. Late afternoon gives you more light, and some nice color. In order to avoid snow like I have in my shot, you need to hit the spot in late July or early August.


  22. It is ironic that you have this contest. I already have a photo for something like this:

    I have it printed out at 151″ wide in my home. It is a 360 degree view at the west side of Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. People constantly stare at it looking for some possible animal in the scene.

    Oo, Oo, pick me, pick me.

  23. Photographers are your life. What would be cooler than a picture of photographers. Have smugmuggers send in photos of themselves behind the camera head on. Assemble these into a mural. It will look like the photgraphers are all taking pictures of the great smugmug team.

  24. Others have already suggested the Grand Canyon, but what about another French landmark – Arc de Triomphe. You could also stay in the US with something like the Lincoln Memorial or the Mall?

    Other ideas – A centote?

  25. Set up a camera in the middle of a river just past a waterfall, so there’s the waterfall on one side and the rest of the river going into the woods or something on the other side.

  26. A giant bathtub or shower filling up. You could float a rubber duck, shark etc. in it. It would feel like you were walking through the middle of the water. A giant spout at the end with flowing water.

  27. I once had a image I took of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia blown up that large, it was awesome to see, so I understand the fascination with BIG prints. How about an aquarium scene. I see a swarm of florescent jelly fish on the right, sharks swimming above and sea turtle on the left. Could be really cool and not that complicated to shoot! Heck, almost every city has a cool aquarium and who wouldn’t want to spend the day shooting there!

  28. My first thought is going with your first suggestion with a little flair: a scene above and below water, so you would do your best mermaid impression (if climbing the stairs) from a scene of colorful fish and ascend to walking above/or on the water. You could always hang a towel or snorkel/mask at the top of the stairs as a gag.

  29. 1. A Japanese garden. I find them to be so beautiful, relaxing and full of detail. Koi ponds, Japanese architecture, bridges with intricate designs, and beautiful landscaping…

    2. An aerial view of Seattle, as if you were looking down from the Space Needle.

    3. Prehistoric drawings or hieroglyphics, as if descending some ancient cave/dwelling.

    4. A giant stacked sandwich or burger… as you go up the stairs, it’s like climbing up (or down) through a hole in the sandwich and you see all the different layers of the toppings. Could also work as a stack of pancakes, or any other stacked food.

  30. While I like places, I think it would be really fun to have a picture of people pressed up against glass, so it looks like you’re in a glass stairwell and people are pointing and staring at you. Animals at the zoo would be cool for this also. Flip the idea of the picture on its head, rather than looking at the picture, the picture is looking at you.

  31. I like continuing the idea/visual of the steps. Hua Shan (one of China’s 5 sacred mountains) has some stunning visuals, coupled with steps throughout (the “hiking path” is actually comprised of stairways cut into the mountain at every step). Near the various peaks, the steps also lead to these clusters of padlocks. Hikers and people making the pilgrimage to the peak get their names and the date carved into padlocks of their choosing, depending on a wish they want to make. Lots of good up-close detail, and panoramic visuals. Google Image Search here:

    1. This an interesting idea that is gaining some traction in the office; a trail that drops off to nothing and causes vertigo as you walk up the stairs.

  32. Big Sur. Taken from a car on the drive. If you could time/compose it so the narrow aspect (of the wall) is looking out the window of the ocean and the trees and ocean are streaking by on both sides.

  33. Everest. In every picture of an expedition the people are so small. As you climbed the stairwell you would be in the expedition and as you are at the top, you are literally on top of the world. Could you also get the image on the steps. You would really feel like you were there. Not to mention getting an image of climbing rope onto the railing. What an awesome feeling to be climbing Everest!

  34. Huge blown up ultra-close details from A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jette or another pointillist work. (basically just playing with the idea that viewers will HAVE to be really close)

    alternatively, use a photograph of something real, but blow it up so that the pixels are intentionally enormous, giving the whole thing an abstract look.

  35. If you want aircraft, the Hill Air Force Base museum in Ogden Utah is pretty amazing. I’m originally from Washington DC, and the Hill museum kicks the Smithsonian’s ass for sheer volume (it has just about every plane the AF has ever flown, including the SR-71, B-52, etc)

    But I live in Park City, Utah now, and I think I’ll throw in a suggestion for the Southern Utah canyon country. A Delicate Arch or other Arches NP panorama would be a winner. Or a slot canyon. And Dead Horse Point is pretty spectacular.

    But in taking another look at the narrow staircase, I think the coolest image would be a view from the top of a rock formation, looking over a canyon, so it looks like while you’re walking down the stairs, you’re on the earth’s rim. Maybe Angel’s Landing at Zion NP:

    High quality commercial panoramas of all these subjects might available, though I’m sure that Wade would also love to go shoot them himself, fan of Southern Utah that he is.

  36. My first thought if you are interested in underwater scenes is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, if you can’t find an underwater gigapixel camera housing. I haven’t read the comments yet here on my iTouch, so ignore me if it’s been said already.

    I’ll give it more thought in the meantime.

  37. How about some of the SmugMug Super Heroes skydiving, shot from mid-air with blue sky and white clouds, scaled to life size so that you feel like as you descend the stairs you’re floating down with them?

    Or a vibrant open air market scene filled with all sorts of colorful fruits, vegetables, flowers, maybe the South of France, Tuscany or Mountain View🙂 Might make you all hungry every time you go up and down the stairs, though.

  38. Bonneville Salt Flats with or without a a coolview from a Humanpowered vehical attempting a speed record…. Or some other cool vehical(s)

    rob Lettieri

  39. I think it would be amazing to walk through there and feel like you’re in a cockpit, directing SmugMug to it’s next big destination…. Put a big print of the clouds looking over the earth on the FLOOR and cover with plexiglass walking tiles so it feels like you’re walking on air. Have a 360 view on the walls from inside a cockpit as a plane is landing at the destination… maybe approaching the Statue of Liberty. Anything is possible in the US and anything is possible for SmugMug… where are you going next? It would feel like each person walking through there is about to embark on an exciting new adventure!!! How cool would it be to feel like you’re walking on clouds? To feel like you’re looking over the edge of a plane nose approaching the earth?

  40. A shot of Red Rocks amphitheater with the huge rocks along the sides, the staircase would be the “amphitheater” itself and your favorite band on the stage as you walk into the staircase. Probably an HDR type photo at sunset as the bands are starting to play🙂

    Would be amazingly tricky to pull off but could be beautiful!

    Here is a list of upcoming bands you could photograph … full Summer lineup is not out yet!


  41. Forget the photo idea and just staple a few sheets of bubble wrap up there. Have it replaced every month. Maybe put a cool abstract pattern behind it or something…

  42. I think something more “mundane” might be cool. Perhaps the scene would literally be the stairway down one of the more steep hills of San Francisco, from the point of view of someone actually walking down-hill. Something like this, though there are probably steeper streets that could be used. This idea will have the virtue of being much more cost effective than sending a team of photographers to Machu Piccu or some-such place.

  43. What about standing on top of a large building shooting down towards the city? That would compliment the ones you already have.

    Or I also think a light house with the ocean Landscape would be beautiful during a Regatta.

    Or my other vote would be for an aerial of a mountain range (say the Rocky Mountains from here in Montana!)

  44. the Andes
    A fisherman’s wharf scene
    inside of Alcatraz
    From the edge of a cliff so it looks like you’re about to fall off
    desert scene in Africa with animals
    Greenhouse in bloom
    baseball stadium with a game in progress
    Cyclists in a race coming/going around a 180 degree turn(or whatever would fit) following the stairwell
    Incoming thunderstorm over a big city
    Sailing race with clouds in the sky
    surfers catching a big wave
    Inside an art museum
    Hot air ballons taking off/in the air

  45. My instant idea was a panoramic view on a precarious edge of the Grand Canyon where you feel like you are about to fly. (Standing at the Canyon edges at your feet to your left and right at the top of the stairs with the canyon itself flowing through the center wall and beautiful sky above.)

    In keeping with the same city scape theme you already have, a panoramic view standing on the edge (or as a window washer) of a moderate sized skyscraper with other skyscrapers taller and shorter than you. (As a window washer, the back wall could be the close up of the skyscraper you are on.

  46. Walking in & on clouds. Since SF is known for fog, I’d probably skip that version for a tight stairwell. But any sunset-in-thunderhead-with-sun-rays experience (from air in Southwest) would be awesome (and not too difficult to shoot), or just white fluffy clouds, maybe with SF below. Expands out the horizon so the stairway feels expansive.

  47. A collage of images from SmugMug users, either parallel to the stair case or horizontal/level. Sizes could all be one size 2 x 3, 4 x 6, etc… or they can be mixed matched.

    Later, for another giveaway or contest, you can present the picture for Smuggers to locate their image in the collage.

  48. How about incorporating the ceiling? For the walls maybe a scene with lots of depth eg. a rolling countryside landscape. For the ceiling use a sky with with some clouds, hiding the lamp behind a cloud. If the lamp could be raised a bit in the false ceiling, this could be engineered to give a very soft light. Curving the boundaries between walls and ceiling to give a smooth transition would make the illusion perfect…

  49. Here’s my idea — I really like the grand images of the Utah Slot Canyons – and given this really tall space and converging interior end wall at the stair landing — then — well… it goes to say — make the sides of the stair walls the canyon wall image and naturally the end wall stair landing becomes the “Slot” entrance or exit depending upon how it is perceived.


    1. I had the same exact idea, John! I’m late to the game on this thread, so I was just reading through the posts hoping no one else had already suggested it. So consider this a “second” to John’s excellent suggestion:-)

      Alan B.

  50. Don’t know if this could be done, but do a 360 degree panorama of the inside of an airplane cockpit. I suppose it would be easier to do one of a 747 than a fighter jet. That way you could spend hours looking at all the controls and stuff.

  51. How about looking down the rows of a vineyard in Napa. You could get great detail of the grapes on the vines, the rolling hills and clouds in the background. Walking through the stairwell would make it look like you were walking through the vineyard.

    Everyone is happy at Disney World. The detail of Cinderella’s castle would be great.

    A tranquil plain on the Serengeti at dawn/dusk would be gorgeous, perhaps with a giraffe silhouette in the background.

  52. I was thinking it might be cool to get the spruce goose at the evergreen aviatian museum in McMinnville, OR. the spruce goose is in the middle if a giant room with old planes, new planes, anything that flies in the air or space all around it. I think this would be a phenominal pano with a ridiculous amount of detail to be shownin every way you look.

      1. I know! The plane is so huge! But with that all of the other aero stuff everywhere you look in the place would be phenominal. More detail than you’d know what to do with.

  53. How about a great Alaskan panorama? Something like glaciers, iceburgs, and large outdoor expanses. You guys definitely need something nature oriented. Too much concrete and steel!

  54. A tropical Rain forest where you start at the floor and you work your way up into the canopy of tress as you go up the stairs. There are amazing and animals on every level of the rain forest.

  55. How about from the driver seat of an Indy race car during a Pit Stop… or from the top of an ant hill.

  56. I would stick to “city theme” but then use sharp contrast to the beautiful American cities such as SF. For example a city scenery of busy Bankok downtown or the poverty in the suburbs of Rio. Would be an interesting contrast and reminder that Smugmug has a worldwide audience.

  57. Part of the Kentucky Derby events is a balloon race. The night before they do a moon glow where they fire up the balloons at sunset. It makes for some gorgeous shots with lots of little silhouettes running around at sunset because it’s a family friendly event.

  58. This idea is expensive, but if you can pull it off, it will be a showpiece of your whole office.

    Several years ago, a photographer by the name of Michael Light (yeah, great name for a photographer) was allowed do high end digital scanning of 1,200 of the original photos taken on the moon from the Apollo program. Back in 1999 he was selling very large prints of the Apollo images he scanned. There was a very large panorama image on display for years at the Rose Planetarium in New York City. (

    Get the rights to those images and create a freaking lunar landscape in your office.

  59. YO Baldy
    Nice interesting space. There is a LOT you can do with it

    With the shape and it being a stairwell, you can play with perspective. In fact, you *should* play with perspective. It isnt even so much as *what* is in the photo but how the eye perceives it. Mess with it so that walking down seems like you are climbing…your feet and ears say down, but your eyes and brain say up. But it should be mild…a bit too much and you might have to install motion sickness bag dispensers. I would like something like some of those wind caves you see in the southwest…it could look like you are walking down the tunnel into Luke Skywalker’s house on Tatooine (geeky enough?)

    You dont say where the stairs lead to, which would help give me ideas.

    But with the massive outdoor shot of the SF skyline already installed, maybe go the opposite direction and look at some macro shots. Big colorful flowers. So you get a feeling as if you are the bee or the butterfly climbing inside for the pollen and nectar. A nice dwey pone could show some really fascinating stuff in the surface of the drops when blown up to that size.

    Or maybe a really intense macro sot of the inside of a really complex watch. Especially if that stair leads to a technical area. The old school brass workins would still look warm but feel techy and steampunky.

    Oh hey…do TWO pictures. But redo the walls with angular baffles. So when you stand at the top of the stairs you see one breathtaking shot and from the bottom looking up, you see something completely different. It would be a LOT of work. But it would be stunning. Especially if the pictures really contrast on perspective. Like say you are looking at a rocky tunnel going down, but a huge sky scape going back up.

    A fellow I have some nodding acquaintance with does lots of macro flower and landscape shots…

    Visual gags are always fun too. Like say a photo of the door of a cottage deep in lots of greenery…get it sized just right and people will take a second look at the door centered on the landing wall, wondering if the door might be real?

  60. Do I get credit for recommending another photographer who’s crazy talented ? I think one of the awesome HDR photo’s from Trey Ratcliff’s “Stuck In Customs” collection would be pretty cool. They have an amazing amount of detail and you might find something he’s already created. AND, he’s a Smug-Mug member.

    This might be a little dark, but something like this with the “WalkWay” going off to infinity would be uber cool…

      1. Really nice stuff. I’m not a huge fan of HRD, but his stuff is great. Some of the detail in the CityScape type photo’s is amazing. Check out this image in Orig. size. You can see right into the offices.

      2. That would be the winning idea if we could get Trey to do it. I stood at the top of the stairs with him and pleaded… He said he’d think about it but for him to do it he wants a great idea and said he doesn’t have one yet. Bummer. Maybe he’ll get one from these comments.

  61. The answer: The evolution of SmugMug.

    Create a series of SmugMug company images (i.e. the variations of the site since initial launch, or pictures of all employees by hire date) wrapping around the stairwell wall as it moves upwards. The movement of the stairs, in other words, “the climb” fits with the climb of the greatest photo site on the web!

  62. THis would look WILD standing at the top of the stairs with the view adjusted for someone standing at the top of the stairs

  63. It’s already been suggested, but I’ll echo the idea of a great canyon scene. It just seems fitting in the stairwell that you feel like you are climbing into or out of a canyon. Southern Utah offers plenty of great options, Grand Canyon or otherwise.

    Another great landscape would be Yosemite. One of the great falls could be on the door with the rest of the scene covering the walls.

    Both these ideas have been mentioned in some fashion already, but I like those best. It will be fun to see what you pick and create as the final product!

  64. If you want to go with the lighter blue-er underwater theme, a series of stitched pictures of sea mammals would be beautiful. Especially blown up like you are talking about. Native californian and pacific critters. Near and far shots. Darker ones toward the bottom so you get a feeling of depth. And the main attraction, a life sized image of a critter favored by the SmugStaff. Orca, Sea Otter…something like that. I remember seeing a really detailed picture of a whale once and the texture of his skin was fascinating

  65. I love the optical illusions of Felice Varini.

    It would be awesome to use a photograph in that way. The stairwell looks colorful and interesting, nice abstract looking textures and shapes…until you get to one certain spot and BAM! the illusion comes together for the viewer. I would get such a kick out of that little gasp a new viewer has.

  66. Three ideas:

    1. A walkway through a zoo or wild animal park. You can stroll by each exhibit and see great scenes of the animals in their environment.

    2. Old wood rollercoaster by the beach. Ocean on one side, beach, shops on the other.

    3. Underwater tunnel with view above as well. There are several tunnels at various aquariums but the key is to capture above as well.

  67. caves would be cool…lake shasta caverns is just up the road a piece. tons of great angles perspectives and textures. and it shouldnt seem too dark

  68. Several ideas spring to mind quickly:

    1. pano from the top of one of the mountains the Swiss Alps – 360 degree awesomeness

    2. a “mirror” photo – where each side of the stair well mirrors each other – but with a subtle difference – e.g. if a person is in there – then in one their happy and the other they’re sad

    3. the northern lights – oh man that would look INCREDIBLE – i know – not too light but wow factor extreme🙂 ala these images

  69. I love the idea of constellations even though you said you want light. I think a shot of a rural main street or nyc street would be beautiful and great way to show how far smug mug reaches.

    Of course I love a good garden full of squirrels (and gnomes) too but I am sucker for squirrels.

  70. I think it should be laid out like you are between to book cases in an old library or used bookstore with shelves of thousands of interesting books and maybe a couple opened up where you could read pages out of them.

    Or in the middle of a giant redwood forest.

    I think these rooms are great though. Great way to use images to define space. I like it.

  71. How awesome would it be to see the pyramids everyday?! There are three of for each wall. Could even have the Sphinx in they distance. So cool!

  72. When I saw it, the first thing that popped into my head was an image of the Taj Majal, centered on the far wall with the pool and grounds wrapped on the sides.

  73. Okay so We(I) have fooled with perspectives and image based gags. But as you mention, people will be walking close to the image…at least down around the 6 foot mark or so. BUT…the ceiling and the majority of the walls are far enough away that close examination (without a ladder) isnt possible. So we want texture…we want people to have to physically control their urge to touch it but at the same time, the image has to be varied enough that there is lots to look at and to want to touch.

    So we need an image that offers a treat for the eyes from away but give the urge to touch when close.

    low-angle erspective shots, I think .

    A beach shot taken right at toe level that includes the sky. A good one would have lots of shells, jetsam and “stuff” up to about eye level; then falling away to beach, surf and sky as it goes up the walls to the ceiling

    Same for a lawn or meadow shot. Grass, sticks, bugs, moss stuff right up close; falling away to a beautiful day behind and old house (or your house) or a meadow.

    hmm. A switch up…a wrap around shot of the most beautiful car cockpit you ever saw. The one that made you itch to touch. Blown up huge in the stairwell so that from the top it feel just a bit bigger than lifesize and you can take it all in. But down close you can walk along and look at the stitching of the coachwork as if it were hawsers mooring a ship.

    Another switch up..close up photo of old school computer motherboards. The Apple I, II, Mac, Amiga 1000, etc.

    ooh…how about an “ant farm shot” ? A cross section of soil alive with bugs, junk, critters, fossils and plants?

    Variation on the car cockpit – animal portrait. I always thought gorillas and orangutans have the most fascinating textures and expressions. Tigers too .standing at the top it feels like a lifesized portrait. But walking down you feel as if you are shrinking as the detairs of skin and hair become sharper and more detailed. imagine a gorillas hands up close like that?

    Combo wrap. Do a combination. One side of the stairs is a technical shot (pcb boards, IC diagrams, watch internals) the other side is a nature shot. pick the right ones and you could do a bit of software blending so they transit nicely. sort of a works of man/works of god sort of deal

  74. In keeping with a California theme and a surrounding scene perhaps the Mondavi Winery vinyards or other fabulous vinyards of wine country.

    Another thought might be a pano from the center of the Reno Air Races unlimited class.

    The Indy 500 race/race track.

  75. Hey good game.

    I would use a pure very bright white photo (to keep also light in this area) in which the person, who is standing in the hallway, is like skying down. Snow everywhere. Big trees on one side, preferably on the upper level. And possibly a very high point giving awesome view on mountains all around (not oppressing, far enough). Sunshine upon.

    Possible option: having someone flying a 360 ski jump on the side, for instance on the side of the sun, crossing his/her ski in air. With snow flying around from the jump.

  76. There’s a spot at Cape Canaveral on the beach where you can get a great panoramic view of the launch pads. It’s a cool perspective to see just how close to the beach the pads are. If you shoot it the way you shot San Francisco you will get to see the amazing complexity of the launch pad complex and the shuttle/booster stack.

    THE person to contact about something like this is Ben Cooper ( @launchphoto ). You could have a sunny beach/pad pan on one side and an amazing launch shot on the other! And you’d get to witness one of the final launches too!

  77. The basis of my idea comes from the fact that everyone seems to think we need to go to far away places to see beauty when we overlook it in out everyday lives. On the two large walls it would be cool to see a picture of a sunrise on one and a sunset on the other. In the middle either have a lunar eclipse or a star-filled night sky. These are things that happen everyday that have tremendous beauty but somehow we manage to overlook it.

  78. The view from the top of Mt. Diablo on a clear day. Put the city and the ocean on the left, Sierra mountains on the right.

    Trust me.

  79. I have some shots I took at an aquarium South of Cancun (and a similar one on Maui) – where you have nice clean glass – and can shoot both underwater and above water in one shot. Essentially, a beautiful tropical scene above the waterline, then walk down the stairs into the water and see amazing tropical fish and underwater plants. I’d go shoot the scenes in hi-res if you sent me!

    1. It’s pretty easy to setup, actually – just bring a decent size glass box and submerge it enough to shoot with your dry camera directly at the waterline.

  80. I think the smaller the space the larger the vista. And I think a bright scene is essential for a staircase. So I’d suggest my six favorites, in no order:

    1. Monument Valley, Utah, beautiful and iconic. Plus every time you see it you’ll think of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.

    The rest are for sheer beauty (IMHO)
    2. Red Rock Canyon, NV
    3. Los Angeles, from La Cienega & Sunset
    4. Chicago skyline, across Lake Michigan
    5. Oia, and the cliffsides of Santorini, Greece
    6. Sunset on Sanibel Island, FL (or, for that matter, on Santorini)

  81. I would shoot the stairs as an aerial view from the front. Meaning, you see the stairs coming up. With the lower portion, stick in your underwater scene and have a scuba diver ascending from the scene coming up the stairs holding a lobster. On the upper portion of the stairs, create a dinner scene with SmugMug employees awaiting their lobster dinner.

  82. Micro shots via multiple Scanning electron microscope of something interesting — A Spider —


    human sweat / pore:

    compound eye:

    fruiting body:

  83. Living in central Florida, I have always loved night Shuttle launches and landings. The sight of the launch give you goosebumps and the shuttle can be seen for miles. I would like to see the launch on one side and landing on the other…

  84. How about a photograph taken from inside of a structure, like the Statue of Liberty. The beauty of the construction, and the age of it, make the SoL quite wonderful, even from the inside.

    This way as you climb the stairs of SmugMug, it’s like you’re climbing the stairs of the Statue of Liberty.

  85. Looking at the space that you have, I would choose a picture that woud give an illusion of being there, moving out in to the space. My best example of this would be Eureka Skydeck The Edge location in Melbourne Australia. If you would whant to keep with the Sanfrancisco them, you would have to find a building in SF that would permit this type of photography.

    I would just imagine coming down the starirs (or up) and seing this magnific vista of downtown SF and noticing people down on street level.I would even cover the floor with a picutre looking straight down.

    Hope your not scared of the highs. and if you get somebody telling you that they got tweezy going up the stairs, then you know this is good

    here,s an example of the eureka skydeck The edge as an example of what i mean

  86. The inside of a space shuttle, like you’re floating inside a chamber, with all the instruments and stuff.

  87. Open air market in the slums of Eastleigh, in Nairobi, Kenya. Narrow streets and meandering pathways with amazing sights and color all around. I go every July and am amazed at the richness of color in the midst of extreme poverty. Here’s what I have in mind… I’m going back in July 2010, you should go with me and see it for yourself. The iPad would be donated to the MITS school I work with:

  88. For detail, lightness, amazing stuff to look at, and a view you’d never get anywhere else – do a panorama of the inside of the Colosseum in Rome. There’s incredible detail everywhere you look, and shooting a panorama and then displaying it on the walls around you would give you a sense of really being there.

    If that’s not “light” enough, a shot from the Tuscan countryside (a la Enchanted April) would be my next bet.

  89. I think underwater pictures of a great wall dive would be fantastic. You could bring some of the experience of SCUBA diving to your stairwell. As you went up or down the stairs you would ascend or descend along the wall. Given the right site you might even be able to combine the wall with some wider shots (maybe at the top of the stairwell) that could include some of the larger fish.

    The nice thing about wall dives is that there are many different sizes of critters – which would lend itself well to the huge format. Normal fish would jump out and be obvious, but there would be plenty of smaller things, and camouflaged critters that would reward people who wanted to stop and take a closer look.

    There a some fantastic underwater photographers in CA. I bet someone like Marty Snyderman would jump at the opportunity to do something like this.

  90. Lombard Street
    Bryce Canyon
    Lake Powell
    A sharp turn on a downhill ski or bobsled run
    A cutaway view of a camera lens (doesn’t fulfill the light or detail requirement, but I love the concept)

  91. The space is oddly shaped, so I think the key is playing with perspective to completely fool the eye. The purple end wall should go to infinity. I would actually suggest NOT using a super wide photo, something more standard, and artificially motion-blur the orange walls, so when standing in the middle it looks like you are going really fast toward the horizon on the purple wall. I’ve read through the submissions, and most seem to cover the topics well, but I’m not sure all of them could fit into the motion-blurred illusion, and I think that’s the key to playing with this space. To further the illusion, would be great if one could ‘slide’ down the rail in the middle! 🙂 So with this idea in mind I would choose something more open – like a road going into the horizon, or a race care rounding a track (curves on a track could make the space seem much larger vs the angles there now).

    Or you could just really mess with people, an invert the picture of the exist stairware on each of the opposite wall and see how many people run into it.

  92. You are a clown in a three-ring circus, standing on top of a diving board way up, with a small tub of water at the bottom. Everyone under the big top is staring up at you . . .

  93. You are on the wing of a bi-plane – upside down – looking at the guy/gal next to you (where the Eiffel Tower is). Both sides of the stairway would be the city/landscape/airshow crowd below.

    or in keeping with the airplane theme – how about a view from the Blue Angels? Jets in front and on either side of you?

  94. Hey Baldy.

    I’ve got two ideas.

    My first idea is to keep it a San Francisco theme. Make it look like you’re going down (or up) Lombard or California Avenue. The landing wall could be the view of the Coit tower if you pick Lombard and it could be the bay bridge if you pick California Avenue. I think you should sneak in super heroes and sorcerers into the scene so you can have a little game of where’s waldo for visitors.

    My second idea is to make it look like you’re standing in the middle of a bunch of hoodoos at Bryce Canyon. It might be harder to do where’s waldo in a hoodoo forest, but maybe you could just have sorcerers and super heroes stashed in various places in the picture.

  95. How about a picture from the back of a bull – from the perspective of a bull rider?

    Times square on New Years Eve – straight ahead would be the ball coming down – people and the buildings of Times Square all around . . .

    You’re in the middle of a pool at a waterpark – kids and water and thrills all around.

    You’re at the top of a rollercoaster . . .

  96. You are on the red carpet and hundreds of paparazzi and fans are taking pictures of you, staring, pointing, smiling, screaming (or walking down the steps at the oscars -with all the stars in the crowd staring up at you).

    A picture from the perspective of a soccer player – goalie with outstretched arms in front (not quite able to stop your goal) – players and fans around you.

    Looking straight down an old dirt road, perhaps in the south, lined with huge oaks and Spanish moss.

  97. Picture taken from the perspective of a skateboarder – riding the rail – set in an interesting cityscape . . .

  98. 1) Epic battle between Sauron’s forces on one wall, Gandalf in the middle, and his forces on the other wall.

    2) Football game, line of scrimmage with ref in middle, stadium behind him, Offensive line on one side, Defensive line on the other.

    3) Kids soccer match, one team on one side, another team on the other.

    4) Grand Canyon, a side of the canyon walls on each wall, colorado river trailing off in the middle.

    5) Canyon walls on each side, epic waterfall in the middle.

    6) Classic Yosemite shot in great detail, el capitan on one side, half dome on the other.

    7) Wrap around crowd at a World Cup game… can see the detail of each fan in the seats.

    8) Hyper detailed city alley… fine resolution of building walls on each side, alley road down the middle.

  99. 2 ideas:

    Have smugmugger’s submit thousands of photos and combine them into a giant colorful pattern mosaic. Given the proximity of the people to the images, there’s no need to actually have the images represent anything, but I was imaging a HSL shift from one end of the hallway to the other (and top to bottom). I think it would look amazing and there’d always be something to look at and favorites to find (and by the nature of how colors shift, there’d likely to be all different types of things to look at, including water, etc).

    2nd idea; I’m not too familiar with the architecture of the bay area, but I’d imagine there’s got to be some beautiful old building that looks beautiful from the inside (even if the building isn’t used, like an old warehouse, or something like that).

    (If you wanted to stick with the Eiffel tower, you could do something else in Paris that looked like it would fit. There are many amazingly detailed streets and scenes that would look great…

  100. take apart a broken *insert favorite camera here* and do supersized macro shots as if you were the sensor, and looking all around. or do it from the perspective of the lens mount looking in

  101. If it’s stairs, then how about something with height? Like a photo from the skywalk at the Grand Canyon or one from the edge of Half Dome? Or a shot from basecamp at Everest?

  102. motion! like a shot out of a car – where the depth puts the blur at different levels.. far away is sharp, up close is blurred. i’m picturing a road somewhere in California, golden fields etc. Location isn’t as important as the effect.

  103. A photo of American sand dunes with a really blue sky would make that area Pop. If the shot is done well, you would see the detail of the ripples in the sand all around. Perhaps a few clouds but not too many. Kitty Hawk North Carolina may be the place to shoot it.

    Hope this helps,

  104. OK – so let’s get outside the box a bit, or in this case inside the box.

    It is a stairway after all, and it has a ceiling. Go to Utah, and shoot one of the sandstone arches. It will look awsome vaulting up over the viewer as they walk the stairway because it will put them inside and under the the arch.

    Or even better, one of the slot canyons. The scale is perfect for that and the light is just fantastic.

    1. That’s a very interesting idea, to use the ceiling to connect left and right walls.

  105. Given the height of the walls I would suggest a large panorama of the redwoods on a bright sunny day. Considering that the space looks like a hallway with hand rails it would simulate hiking through a grand forest.

  106. A view of Canyonlands NP from Island in the Sky; there’s enough detail to spend a lifetime looking at. One of the most breathtaking views in the the U.S.

    A view from Lincoln Memorial in DC.

  107. I would say to do a giant panorama of the Himalaya’s in Nepal & Tibet. Imagine the Himalayan range in the Khumbu valley, with giant glaciers in the foreground and the giants peaks that make up the “roof of the world” in the background…

    I am actually a travel photographer and I am heading back there at the end of the year, I would be happy to take care of that for you🙂

  108. I suggest the passenger inclines in Pittsburgh, PA. A lot of history there and the inclines make a ton of sense for an inclining stairwell. We have two in Pittsburgh, red with a yellow stripe and tan on tan, you could shoot (or have someone shoot) day or night. It could be really beautiful, and a nice pun for some fun too!

  109. I would suggest a beach scene where is looks as if the waves were inching up the white sand beach up to your desk. Maybe a shot from Kauai or Maui, with the shadow of your beach chair. Another great shot would be the inside of one of the tubes from a monster wave…but they may be too claustrophobic.

  110. I have two ideas, tried to read above to many though, so sorry if I am repeating…

    1. The bamboo forest photo by Trey Ratcliff would be awesome You guys know him!

    2. a rope bridge somewhere tropic and high to give the feeling of crossing it as you go.

  111. Does it have to be a photo? I know you guys love photography but seriously, you should put a ridiculously high-res Mandelbrot or some other fractal on there. Ridiculously high-res. Trippy, mind-bogglingly high-res and beautifully colorized. Compute it on EC2, there’s the tie-in to the business. That’s it.

  112. I’m thinking of a Museum room that has hundreds of cameras and photography related items in stacked around the wall.

  113. What about a stitch of the view from a trail through the Californian red wood forests? So in the area, you look like you’re actually on the path/trail through the forest…

  114. Hello Chris and the gang at SMUG MUG,

    I’d go with the view from Twin Peaks looking north/east. Its a killer view and it fits with your other cityscapes.

    Dave Rivers

  115. Hi!
    You should post pictures of you now to the top and the oldest pictures of you to the bottom.
    This prevents you to forget where you came from and helps you not to lose yourself on the way up.
    Cheers! Keep up the good work!

  116. with the depths to that height…I’d do a 360 or fisheye /elevator shot …from under water ..use the waterline for transition and treeline for transition stich together 3 panoramas…but final hallway should look like Willy Wonk’s view of the world…I think that is what Smugmug is. I’d recommend since we are on spring… the mid field section…(earth between sea and sky) The spring Gardens in Keukenho, Netherlands… -I am sure the Garden woul allow a photographer to do a 360 or fisheye cam from center of the pond

  117. I don’t know whether it looks nice around your house or if you’re in an industrial park, but you could try to take panoramic shots from your roof that would give the impression of the walls being transparent.

  118. OK, so I’m biased. But an up-valley shot of Yosemite would be very cool, with Half Dome where the Eiffel Tower is, El Capitan and Yosemite Falls on the left, and Bridalveil Falls on the right.

  119. I think the experience of a backlight cave would be cool too, one near my home has lights in pools of water and elevated walkways so you could shoot the downward view too

    I’m also liking the natural idea of a path thru a rain forest or redwood forest…maybe you could sneak in some interesting bugs and the view could lead up to one of those tunnels carved thru a tree.

  120. It’s a stairwell. So you HAVE to use the unique set up to your advantage, right? Immediately, I think of clouds….stairway to heaven…a walk in the clouds…the scary feeling you get when walking up high… But then, again, that clouds are a bit cliché.

    Therefore, you HAVE to do a panoramic scene of one of the infamous Mayan temples. For example, the one at Tikal ( or Uxmal ( would be good ones.
    I can just see the smugmug staffers climbing the stairs to get “ahead” and pay pay tribute to their gods. Bruhahaha. Stitching a bunch of pics together will allow for some great detail in this breathing taking scene.
    Please send my iPad to….😉

  121. I’m thinking of a collage of pictures from Smugmug users that represent Smugmug’s history through its inception. From the early pixelated pictures to the current HD videos someone can post. Maybe somehow also artistically represent the amount of data being store from the beginning of Smugmug to today’s.

  122. I have a few ideas:

    – a big Quake or Doom level view. would work well with the stairway. bonus points for setting the light to flicker creepily.

    – giant shots of interesting food art and/or just huge macro food. RHUBARB on the tall wall FTW

  123. So many great suggestions. But does anyone else think that, because it’s a staircase, it would be important to avoid a disorienting perspective (shooting up something, down something, backwards and sideways at something) or a dizzying array of multiple images? I think it might be important to keep the person oriented correctly “in space”, no?

    1. Ummm… no, that’s what makes it so fun!! This is the PERFECT place to mess with the eyes! How about a whole bunch of those black and white pinwheel’s that you can’t tell whether you’re coming or going! Fantastic!

  124. Since you’re looking for detail, I’d suggest some sort of farmers market or food market.

    The colors and shapes and details of food markets would fill the walls admirably. As people walk through the hallway, they could stand in awe of the fine detail of a tomato, the cracks in a loaf of sourdough, or the texture on the skin of an orange.

    Additionally, I wouldn’t necessarily confine yourself to the idea making the photo continuous on all walls. I would consider making each wall different, perhaps one wall of fruits, one wall of vegetables, and one wall of breads (or something like that). I don’t know if I’d do raw meat or fish, though I have seen some gorgeous butcheries and fish markets throughout my travels.

    I think food is one of the few universalities in our world. Food is something that transcends language and culture. The San Francisco cityscape and the Milan are absolutely stunning images, but they are very specific to a time and place. Food on the other hand… Everyone can relate immediately to food and say “Wow, that looks delicious.”

  125. Another idea is to make the stairs a part of the most dangerous hiking trail in the world, The Huashan trail in China. There are majestic views off the side of the mountain, winding thin wood platforms on the side of the cliff (could be one wall where the stairs seem attached to the platform), and an exciting ascent to a temple on the top of the mountain.

    Some reference ideas:

  126. You have the eiffel tower there for inspiration… expand on the theme. Make it look like the view from the top of paris. Since you’re in a stairwell you can get a true 360 view.

  127. You have panos of some amazing places. The stair case is a close area. I suggest the opposite of a pano, a macro shot.

    Something like:
    Close up of a rock surface. Lichen etc.
    A flower garden with birds, butterflies, etc.
    A macro of ONE flower.
    An ant hill or bee hive. (Ok, that may be creepy, but it would be cool.)

    Ok, that’s my two cents.

  128. I suggest a wraparound image of a Moorish palace. The prime example of this is the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

    – It’s Mediterranean setting and light coloured stone will provide the lightness you require for the room.
    – The intricate detail of the stonework will provide interest for anyone who wishes to take a closer look.
    – The 360 degree (or 270 in this case) will give you the impression that you are in the palace grounds
    – The ancient subject will contrast with the modern US skyline that your other gigapixel images, and reflect the global outlook of your company.

    Example images here

  129. Love your SF panorama!


    I. My vote: Underwater. With both sides of the stairwell you would have the feel of being in a giant fish tank and each day you would find new “things” you never noticed before”.

    The problem of doing an underwater panorama shot and knowing from experience is the constant movement of the subject and the photographer. HOWEVER…

    HOWEVER if there is anyone who could pull this off it would be these two top underwater photo pros who are WONDERFUL to work with:

    1. Cathy Church, who is located in Grand Cayman. Contact info:

    2. Joe Liburdi, who is located in Costa Mesa, CA. Contact info:

    II. Second Rec.: A panorama shot of the planet earth from space enfolding up and then down the stairwell. This you would have to get from a satellite source. There are different “distances” you can work with to suit your need and taste!

    Having a giant photo “atlas” on the walls of your stairway would be fascinating. When one of your SmugMug photographers takes some breathtaking photo of some local, you can look at that area from space as you walk up or down the starways. Plus it’s just awesome seeing the earth from space.

    III. Final recommendation: Going up your stairwell a panorama shot of the space shuttle take off and going down the stairwell and panorama of the space shuttle landing.

    Have fun!


  130. Capture an image from the mast of a boat. It could be a sail ship or a dishing rig…with the front point of the boat centered on the end of your tunnel. Pick a location with interesting peripheral views…fiords? Hawaii? Ship yard? The end result will be a great visual…especially if the rigging lines come to a point where the viewer stands in the hall.

    1. Additionally, consider putting flooring down that resembles decking. The image. On the lower part of the walls can be the rails. When standing in the hall, it would fell like you are on the ship!

  131. 1) Build a scaffold as tall and long as the stairwell, and put it in the middle of a redwood forest, along a gully with a small waterfall. Shoot photos from each “step” of the stairwell, showing the forest from that perspective, as well as from the above locations on the scaffold (to fill in the upper levels of the wall). This way the image will have the correct perspective on both the upper and lower steps. Stitching is going to be a challenge since the photos are shot from different camera positions, but I bet you can figure that part out. 🙂

    The left hand wall will be the side of a gully, with close-up views of the rocks, mushrooms, leaves, fallen wood, etc that line the edges of a redwood forest gully. The back wall could have a small waterfall feeding into the gully, with towering redwoods above. The right wall would be the upper sides of the gully and the trees. Bonus if you can get a woodpecker on one of the trees!

    The entire print would be “life size”. You would truly feel as if you were walking on stairs in that gully as you go up and down the steps.

    2) Shoot inside the giant kelp tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Shoot a bazillion shots and then stitch together shots that make the aquarium teem with life even more densely than it does in real life. Compose the photo so that the lower side of the stairwell has shots showing the floor of the aquarium, and the upper side focuses on the upper levels. Get a shot of a huge school of fish for the landing wall, wrapping into both the side walls. Photoshop in photos of the otters (which are not in the giant kelp tank but in their own tank) in the uppermost section.

    3) I like the idea of a doorway on the landing. There are quite a few stairway streets in SF. Find one of them with an interesting doorway mid-way along the street, and make that the center of the shot. It’s possible you can find the right street on the north side of Telegraph Hill, and include Coit Tower, Alcatraz, and the Bay Bridge in the final composition.

    4) Shoot on a very steep street, where the houses and garages climb at the rate the stairway climbs. Like this shot:
    There are several steep streets with beautiful houses/garages on them.

    Use a view of Alcatraz from the “top of the street” (even if the actual street doesn’t actually look out at Alcatraz) for the landing photo.

  132. I think a open space shot from a favored vineyard of choice with rolling hills would be nice close to harvest time. My preference for a national park would be either joshua tree or monument national parks with one level horizon line about 60″ above the floor at the transition. This would allow the monuments or cactus could still be visible going up the high side and the texture of the ground would be seen as you descend.

  133. Lower Antelope Canyon ( a.k.a “The Corkscrew” ) – technically challenging and simply stunning with the right lighting.

    One hopes you’d replace the drop ceiling tiles with a vertical shot, add a fancy shaft of radiating light to mimic the sun shaft, and install some Navajo Sandstone carpet!

    Waves, Lower Antelope by Charles Cramer

  134. how about the inside of a cathedral? something like st.peters basilica or the sistine chappel? some are very colorful, have a vast amount of detail that just can’t be seen by staring up at the ceiling/ the picture can be placed on all 3 walls AND the ceiling tiles can have the ceiling paitings of whichever cathedral you pick.


    a picture of Niagara Falls

  135. Show the international side of SmugMug (or your intentions to climb onto the rest of the world)

    Copacabana beach in Rio on a packed sunny sunday. The scene is beautiful when seen from far away. And people would spend hours looking at the details of beach scenes of beachgoers sunbathing, playing raquetball, jogging, flirting, eating and drinking.

    Climbing the stairs in a Favela (slum) in Rio. The places are full of life, fantastic colors and the most interesting types. Fits the stairs and brings you straight into the real world, which can be scarry, but is infititely beautiful and poetic.

    A colorful scene from carnival in Rio, packed with people. People are the trickiest to stitch I know, but form the most interesting (and varied) details to look at. Who doesn´t like people watching…

    A scene shot form a river in the amazon or Brazilian Pantanal as if you were on a boat looking at both margins of the river. The detail in the forest, birds, aligators and other animals would be incredible. Araquém Alcantara, brazilian nature photographer would be the man to comission.

  136. Stairs … at a geeky place …. i mean, there is only one option here. “Relativity“, by Escher.

    It depicts a world in which the normal laws of gravity do not apply. … Isn’t that a description about what smugmug is all about ?

  137. I think you definitely need a single image that wraps around all three walls. It should be centered on the short wall in such a way that you feel you are looking in opposite directions (180 degree rotation) for the majority of the longer opposing walls. For example, I have two rectilinear projections of Piazza San Marco in Venice looking in opposite directions, and a third one that is a cylindrical view combining the two together:

  138. Cave of Swallows – the base jumper’s paradise. Amazing the beautiful blues, waterfalls, etc in this pic –

    Thinking of your superhero/villian theme and the “cave” of creativity you have at smugmug. Might even have a few gutsy folks there willing to make the jump for the pic.

    Descending into Carlsbad Caverns, or coming out, sunset sky teeming with bats – would be superhero-ish too.

    As for airplanes – the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL has an amazing collection of planes suspended in flight and photographers are welcome. Could even photoshop in team members in the cockpits – seemly dogfighting in the air, being the Blue Angels, etc. Several planes there set up for cockpit pics already w/o special permission needed.

    One more idea – red carpet. Your staff are the VIP being photographed, interviewed, adored. Little ego boost on the stairs every day. Mirrors at the top and bottom to strike a pose before the red carpet walk. A basket of props to wear on the way up/down – hats, shades, boas, etc.

    Really looks like a cool place to work!

  139. A few ideas:

    – Fish River Canyon in Namibia
    – An Oasis
    – Valley of the Kings or the Pyramids and Sphinx

  140. I live in, love the mountains.
    Mountains on one side, huge vista w/mtns in the distance. Or Mountains on both sides.
    Or.. what I really see in that hallway…
    Slot Canyons.. your hall could/would make you feel like you are in one.

  141. Hello, send someone under water to capture dramatic and colorful panorama full of life and blue.

    Also add a print on ceiling.. a person standing in this place should feel he is under the sea !!

    Or if you like something from Asia then Mughal Architecture will be awesome !

  142. Surfer catching a sweet wave. The right angle could give the impression you’re surrounded by water and about to be wiped out by the curl of the wave cresting. The colors would be light for your space, the teals and greens of the water. The detail would reflect in the spray and sea foam and the reflections of light off the water.

    Its not geeky, but maybe let you feel like you stepped out to the tropics for a brief respite from a hectic day.

  143. 1) How about the inside of a mouth – with a tongue, uvula, teeth, tastebuds…

    2) It would be funny to do a photo of the stairs so it looks like you could keep walking forward…through that might be dangerous…

    3) drumroll….. the inside of a camera and you can see out the lens….but the best part is that you can periodically change out the view from the lens to keep things fresh

  144. The theme: View from inside an “open top” train

    Wide-angled or panoramic shots for both left and right walls.

    Left wall: 2 or 3 bunk bedrooms each with window that have landscape shots (various or just one scene of the outside) filling them.

    Right wall: Dining or lounge with windows that have landscape shots (various or just one scene of the outside) filling them.

    Far end wall: End of train with a larger window or opened door that has another landscape shot or image of a railway track – gives perpective.

    Ceiling: This one is tricky. For the “open top” train, perhaps fill up with a night sky with Aurora Borealis or star trails or fish-eyed shots of buildings at night from a train passing thru the city or huge aircraft flying over…

    The images on the windows will be of the right size that will not stress the viewer.

    All the above to be aligned with either the day or the night images.

  145. Aileens Wave with a surfer on the 117″ side and the Cliffs of Moher on the opposite with a connecting photo of the Atlantic meeting the Cliffs on the 93″ wall.

    video of Aileens and the Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland

  146. Your perspective is the middle of the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival launch.

    Combine three perspectives, ground setup, closeup of a balloon taking off (aka shooting flames), and surrounded by thousands of balloons of varying distances. As you climb up the stairs.

    As an added bonus, its a cool trip. (IMHO: Visitors to find your team in a balloon, and yes you need to have a custom smugmug hot air balloon. Start planning now. Marketing tie in as well, build a campaign around it.)

    Make your own gigapan.

  147. SmugMug Heros MUST have a cave of their own to live in! Y’all should get a shot in one of these amazing Crystal Caves (more local than the Huge crystal caves in Mexico which would also be AMAZING!!!)

    Of course, if you’re up for a trip, you can check out the Giant crystals They also have the cave of swords

  148. hi!

    mountains/mountainrange has already been suggested, but i think i have the right mountains for the picture:

    take a picture of the nordkette/inntalkette, a mountainrange north of innsbruck, austria. there’s a picture of the range on the german wikipedia:

    but instead of using this picture, which is taken from the valleyfloor (the center of innsbruck), i’d take the picture from patscherkofel, a mountain on the other side of the vallye. that should give you an impressive picture of the mountains and the vallye floor. i’d center innsbruck on the bottom of the facing wall, with the mountainrange domineering the left and right wall, including the top part of the facing wall.
    there’s a webcam that given a live feed from patscherkofel that shows the nordkette and innsbruck, but you’ve got to catch it when it’s light outside , this is MEST (so 9 hours ahead of the west coast).

    you could choose between a summer picture as is on the link above, or, even nicer, do the shot during winter when the mountains are covered in snow. and for bonus (but it could be a bit dark for the space that you have), do the same shot during a full moon winter night. the light reflecting off the snowfields, with an orange-glowing innsbruck on the vallye floor is spectacular.


  149. I’ve seen some beautiful surfing pictures from inside the tube as a wave is breaking, that have wonderful leading lines that could end with the open end of the tube on the skinny wall in the middle. If it’s breaking from right to left in that picture, it fits with going from higher to lower. No surfer required, just the beauty of the beautiful blue water.

  150. I think that you should have a contest and each Smugmug member that wants to submit a photograph for your consideration.

    The stair well should have segments to it and then each winning entry should be given a segment

  151. OK… The winner is for the IDEA right? I already have a photo that will work well in this space and I am sure you guys can easily be re-shot…

    So, a stairwell… there is only one way in and out of that place… reminds me of a prison cell – don’t poo poo the idea take a LOOK at this bright photo I took of a cell block inside Alcatraz – it’s in my smugmug account!

    In the space you have – height and depth are important. Obviously, mine is a single capture, but as you will see, it will work – and I bet no one else would ever have something like this in their office!

  152. One more idea for me…. a MotoGP(or any motorcycle) race on Laguna Seca raceway. Catch the riders in the tight turns, leaning way over, knee draggin’, elbow draggin and inches between each bike.

  153. The wonderful scenery around Oyster Pond, Ostrea Lake Road, Pleasant Point Nova Scotia looking out to the Atlantic Ocean is gorgeous.

  154. I think you should take it up a notch… literally!

    Rent a helicopter or the Airship ventures zeppelin and have a full panorama of Yosemite from the air – no pictures from any hilltop where you can get to.

    Half Dome in the middle, Yosemite Falls and Arch hills on the left and Glacier Point on the right. The pictures should be taken from the same level as the top of the cliffs surrounding so the waterfalls should spill down to the bottom. With special access and a few passes you would get an amazing image not seen before!
    (ok, so you might be able to shoot the same thing from each side of Yosemite and then from the valley, but trying something new is half the fun!)
    Cheers, John

    1. You would be a good candidate to shoot it, John. But how do you stitch something shot from a moving heli?

  155. Hey Baldy!

    Going with the whole stairway thing, I think it would be awesome if the stair looked like you were going down into a beautiful cave (maybe ironic as well that the stairway leads you outside). My vote is on the Wind Cave in Mulu National Park (in Borneo). The shots would be from the vantage point of the stairway, and could even continue on the switch through the stair turn (if you wanted to expand the project beyond what you have outlined). The cave lets enough light in that I think it would work, and it could be done over multiple days probably given the static environment.

    Otherwise just choose a specific point of the downward path in the cave.

    1. Man it’s awesome to have people of your talent level participating. Great idea but I’m starting to lean towards the top of the Golden Gate bridge idea.

  156. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the hallway was that room in Willy Wonka’s factory with the perspective walls that make it look all out of proportion.🙂 That’s not really a photo though as much as graphics work.

    But really I think a panoramic racetrack shot during a race (I think of Nascar but any race would be cool) that shows crowds, vendors, cars all the way around whizzing by, blue sky at the top, etc would be really cool. Someplace like Bristol maybe. With all the people and action there would be no shortage of detail!

    1. Would be even more interesting if you could take it when they do those school bus races – they are just visually interesting!

  157. Commission Trey to do a shot in the aquarium at Atlantis (you know the one where you walk through the glass tunnel) and do the ceiling too! Damn, I’ll volunteer to go too! ):

  158. I’d say an underwater scene of the kelp forests either near Monterey Bay or the Channel Islands. The bright gold color offset by the deep green is just amazing in contrast and the amount of sea life is mind abundant in both tiny and large critters. Another great local one would be underwater at one of the Sea Lion rookeries with the juveniles playing, again out at the Channel Islands or near La Jolla. For warmer waters, Cocos Island with the huge schools of Hammerhead Sharks, numbering in the hundreds would be amazing.

    I know one of the top underwater photographers, and this is something he’d figure out how to do just to do it.

  159. Remain with the west coast theme. Shoot the west coast highway with a sports car navigating the road. Ocean in the background and appear that a person is walking the hills overlooking the highway. Bright sunset, sports car, the appearance of walking up to edge and overlooking the sky, ocean, and the sports car(s) as they navigate the hightway.

  160. 360 view of exhibits or halls in these museums:
    Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos, CA – close to home!
    USS Intrepid, New York, NY – flight deck with the SR-71 spy jet
    Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL – Transportation Gallery
    American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY
    Museum of Ancient Life, Lehi, UT

    From the natural world:
    Heaven and Earth Pillar Mountains, China
    Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

  161. i think you really need to highlight the “aisle” that you have people walking… so you could have the inside of a cathedral – where the aisle is the stairway – or the inside aisle of an airplane – so you’d have seats of people around you as you walk toward the cockpit. or you could be in an awesome underground cave – there are some SWEET Pictures of those that have awesome light and are extremely fascinating

  162. How about the pyramids on the right wall and the Amazon rain forest on the left wall. 3 places you could never be at the same time. the pyramids could be shot at sunrise. The amazon shot could be the river closer towards you and the rainforest in the background like you are floating down the river.

  163. I JUST saw your link on FB!

    To keep your hallway happy, why no go to the happiest place on earth? DISNEYLAND! I could shoot it for you. I go sometimes every other week. You could have a panorama from in front of the Castle where you could see not only the entrances to Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, and possibly Frontierland, but even see Main Street and the statue of Walt Disney and Mickey. Think of all the details in the castle, the popcorn and churro vendors, all the mickey ears, the Carousel in Fantasyland, Matterhorn, the flowers and smaller character statues around the Mikey/Walt Statue. You could see the colorful banners in front of the castle, and if taken at the right time, you might even be able to see people dancing to swing music in the amphitheater right by the castle.

    So much to see!

    1. I love this sea. Would need special permission, but maybe they’d give it to us.

      1. I actually don’t think you’d need permission. People are taking hundreds of thousands of pictures a day in the parks. Would you need permission to just print it? You’re not going to sell it for a profit.. Don’t know. It would be fun to see though. 🙂

  164. How about a picture either with the Blue Angels in flight preferably near a mountain range?

    Another idea would be to find a great picture with a military “halo jumper.” On the edge of space. Dark star filled sky with the gradient horizon till you see the earth below. Possibly some planets near the ceiling edges.

  165. Love the idea of wrapping an image of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta around that hallway. Starting at the bottom, the image is roughly at ground level, with balloons just starting to fill, mountains in the background. As you come up the stairs to the landing, the balloons are partway filled to just rising off the ground. The rest of the way up the stairs, balloons are floating in the air at various heights, mountains in the background, and for the ceiling, you could have an image of a balloon basket floating right over your head.

  166. I think you should turn the stairs into a piece of an Escher print. Make it an optical illusion that you have options to keep walking up/down stairs that don’t really exist.

    You could put the people into this print:

    I attempted something less cool with a photo-collage I did for a dgrin challenge a while back. I think this idea would be even better if the viewer were in the photo standing on the stairs.

  167. I could shoot a scene from a skiing gondola. I think it would be a great scene, like you are looking down the mountain. Or from the top of a mountain down a steep chute. I live next to Snowbasin resort (Home of the 2002 Olympic Downhill)

    Thanks for your consideration!

  168. A few ideas…

    1) A 180°+ view from the cockpit of a P-38 Lightning. For the wall straight ahead you could have the cockpit and controls in the foreground. Then on the walls on either side it would be like you were looking out the canopy and over the wings with their big supercharged engines, propellers and cannons.

    2) Same as above but from the bombardier’s position in a B-17 bomber.

    3) A panoramic shot taken while suspended on a zip line over some exotic tropical location. I’m sure you wouldn’t have any problems finding a volunteer to travel to Hawaii to take such a shot. In fact, I’ll do it!

  169. Go for a fresh air / outdoors-y scene, maybe something from Muir Woods or Sequoia National Park – you’d want to keep the scene light filled & open – but still be able to enjoy the majesty of the trees.

    Or maybe something like a time-lapse star trails with the aurora…

    Good luck!

  170. How about a collage of pictures that represent a path through time. The bottom you can have a pinhole camera with an example pic. At the top the stuff that allows to you create and print these huge images. In between all the steps along the way.

    People will be walking up and down here quite often, so the picture needs to be quite complicated but also structured so that you can look at different parts on each pass.

  171. Since you guys do a lot of hosting for wedding photographers, I think you need the inside of a BIG church with lots of stained windows, DURING a wedding, with the couple at the end of the hall and all the guests in pews lined up along the walls leading down to them. Or an outside wedding done the same way.

  172. Re-create Hogwart’s staircases from the Harry Potter series. It might be a bit challenging since the location doesn’t actually exist, but how cool would it be to have staircases that swing to and fro as you walk beneath them and portraits that smile and wave as you approach?

  173. How about a surfer surfing the “tube”, and your hallway is inside the tube? There’s only one photographer that I know of who can take such a shot: World famous surfing photographer Scott Aichner. He invented the first and only 270 degree camera. It has 2 fish eye lenses facing at 90 degrees from each other and the images it produces are truly spectacular.

    I did an article about Scottt in May of 2006 on my journal titled, “Extreme Technology”.

  174. OK, how about one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”: Machu Picchu? If you wanted to create something impressive and awe-inspiring, you could mount some slump stone on the walls, with windows and open ceiling.

    Through the windows and open ceiling could be views of the “Lost City of the Incas” printed on back-lit film. This film could be illuminated by low temperature, low energy LED lights that are connected to a controller that slowly changes from a day to a night scene (complete with a bright, shining Moon for the night scene) that is synchronized with the day and night times outside your office.

    A high resolution panoramic photo of Machu Picchu, shot in HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging) would fit the bill nicely.

  175. 1) Not sure of the layout of the building, but perhaps take a photo of what is in the rooms beside it.. like there are no walls at all

    2) A snapshot inside a butterfly house

    3) From the center of your favorite football or baseball stadium (full of people, of course)

  176. I have two more ideas.

    How about an outdoor concert venue where one is walking through the crowd. Perhaps taking something at Hollywood Bowl or Pritzker Pavillion in Chicago.

    The other idea is not a photograph at all, but could be just as artistic and cool. This one is odd, but it is fun, although I am trying to figure out a few of the other details. My guest bathroom at home is covered floor to ceiling in magnetic and chalkboard paint. So every time I go in there things have changed a little. The challenge I see is that odds are not much would be above 7 feet above the stair tread. That is where the magnetic paint can really shine. Using one of those “lightbulb” suckers on a stick one can place items up on the magnetic area, such as postcards or other knickknacks from the travels.

    The other idea is to put a video projector to cover the area above the steps that people can’t easily reach and do a slide shoe of previous writings on the wall.

  177. Ohhhhh… I just thought of another idea! My apologies if it’s already been mentioned.

    How about the of Cliffs of Moher in Ireland? Expansive and gorgeous!

  178. You have San Fran, you need New York:

    left: Brooklyn Bridge with NY skyline background
    center: Statue of Liberty
    right: NY Skyline with Empire State Building

  179. Julie :
    A giant bathtub or shower filling up. You could float a rubber duck, shark etc. in it. It would feel like you were walking through the middle of the water. A giant spout at the end with flowing water.

    Love that one… You can have a lot of photoshop fun toa ad stuff in and under the water…

  180. I was actually just looking at SmugMug for a second photo blogging site when I came upon this thread. SmugMug… is about people, a community of people with a like interest in photography. Whether they are beginners or professionals they are united here as one. Why not follow that theme?

    I don’t know what the outside structure of your building looks like however the inside gives the appearance of being inside a skyscraper overlooking a massive metropolis teeming with people, a community not unlike SmugMug. So..

    With these rooms as your destinations, what about a panorama of the path that leads there [in this case the staircase] and the people that make SmugMug what it is. What I am talking about is a full scale print of people using this staircase.


    1. You could hold one to a few photo sessions that you can invite SmugMug members to attend and have them pose on a like scale staircase with a photographer capturing their images. You would want diversity, people from different countries from all walks of life and of course the SmugMug team could be there too in a “Where’s Waldo” sense perhaps looking over a person’s shoulder or reaching for a doorknob.

    2. The stature of the People will rise maybe six and a half feet off the steps unless someone is piggybacking another, like a child riding their parent’s/sibling’s shoulder. So you have background to contend with as well and in the same spirit as your entertainment room or conference room, how about making the stairwell walls, ‘glass’. Obviously not true glass but show long panes of glass stretching upwards and outside those panes a scale size city view.

    3. You have a ceiling. Often, particularly in escalator corridors, there are mirrors above. Don’t forget a crucial part of this perspective which would be the tops of people’s heads, shoulders, maybe a view into a paper bag one is holding or a camera backpack left open that doesn’t show.. when you are level with them. Maybe one of the staff is looking up and is spotlighted there. Since this would be a ‘mirror’ section of the stairwell, the other portion that did not show the tops of the people would be a ‘reflection’ of the stairs. You could toy with the stairs making them look different or you could keep the realism on track by just reproducing them.

    4. Mingled with the reflection of the stairs you could show ghostlike or semi-transparent people going -down- the stairs in the opposite direction. A few faces of your SmugMug members that did not get on the wall panoramas. Depending on their positioning you could show their heads, faces, shoulders, legs, shoes, something they carry.. anything of interest because what you said you want.. is detail.

    5. On that 93″ wall.. you would have transparency like the stairs going up and down but.. you could have a couple people stalled there, show their backs as they press their hands to the ‘glass’, or even show a window washer out there balancing on his drop lines cleaning the windows with the cityscape behind him. Maybe.. one of the people inside the building is touching the ragfilled hand of the window washer outside, making a connection.

    6. You have a dividing wall in the middle of the staircase. You could make that a “mirror” and show the legs or pertinent parts of the people on the opposite wall or you could show sections of the ghost people that only appear on the ceiling [either semi transparent as they are above or in ‘living’ color], you could make that a “glass” area and really tinker with people’s perspective by making it look like you are seeing the city below through that “pane” as if the alternating steps have nothing but a gap between.

    You will have the details of the individual people, the design of the false window architecture, the cityscape outside the false windows, the reflections in the false mirrors and even the ghost people populating your staircase making their journey to your offices and they ‘can’ all be SmugMug members.

    7. One step further, after compiling your panoramas, use SmugMug member photos on a small scale to picture mosaic your entire scene. So up close nearly nose to wall people might see an image someone has done but at a working distance one would use to climb the steps normally, they would see the people and scene you intend them to see.

    Seven is a lucky number you know😉 At any rate, I hope you find what you are looking for!

  181. Wow – lots of suggestions and I wish I had time to read all of them!

    Here’s my thought… If people will be standing close to the final image (and building off of the last post at the time I’m building my post) Kristen L (#262)’s suggestion re: SmugMug and the community SmugMug is built around…

    What about building a photo montage that would wrap around the area to be covered by the image(s)? Multiple images of SmugMug members combined to create a larger image, so that when the stairwell is viewed from the angle you shot it at (to show the dimensions in your original post), you can see the SmugMug smiley logo, or a world map (to show SmugMug’s coverage)… or whatever other larger image that floats your boat….

  182. Oops – I just read Kristen L’s #7 suggestion. Guess my fingers work faster than my eyes. Oh well… maybe my suggestion is different enough to matter. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what the winning suggestion is!

  183. I happen to be a big fan of Harley Davidson Motorcycles – what’s more fun then a Harley at the beach. Since you have such great shots of SF then why not grab more of the California sunshine? A nice Malibu sunset with a couple of Harley’s in the moonlight with some couples having some quiet time in that magical morning light or evening dusk. Do a wall cling and change the seasons :o) Love the walls – I’m coming to California for the first time to visit my son in Hollywood. He works at the Art Institute of California – in IT so – he’s kind of a geek too – (very nice looking geek, if I do say so myself) But this stuff would be great for a student there to do as a homework project :o) I could use an Ipad – :o)

  184. A second idea.. though I still like my first. The cabin of a plane full sized with various people [Again could use staff or SM members] scattered about so that it looks like you are walking the cabin of the plane. You could put arrivals on one side of the stairwell and departures on the other so that respectively, people are gathering their things to get off the plane and on the other side they are settling in, on the phone, reading a book, etc. The end of the hall could be the cockpit and a view through the window and the airport. The porthole windows along the cabin could each show a different scene of travel, maybe even all over the world. The center wall could be rows of unsat in seats that are available for occupancy and the ceiling could be anything from the ceiling of the plane to clouds. It would give the feeling of embarking on a journey which I’m sure SmugMug has been to become what it is now. =)

  185. How about photographing a huge field of sunflowers- on one side of the stairs use a photo from the front of the flowers, and the other one taken from the back of the flowers. That way it feels like you are walking down a row of large sunflowers and you have different opposing views if you look left or right which is natural also and a totally different graphic feel as well. The flowers are bright and when you factor in all the small details of bugs, petals, birds, and more that would be shown viewers would constantly be finding something different as they pass by.

  186. Since it appears as though most people will view the scene from the top of the stairs looking down, I belive that the best idea is to get up into the North Tower of the GG bridge (preferably halfway up, though the top is fine), and create the image looking south. The walls would have the vertical cables with the views beyond, and the center would be the other tower of the bridge. Most of the detail would be below the camera just as with these stairs. I could shoot it, though I’d need permission to get up into the tower. See my website for my views of the bridge.



    1. Wow, now that would be awesome! I’m thinking this may be the winning idea. I’m gonna call the Golden Gate bridge people and see if I can get permission. I hope you like iPads.

  187. How about a “Where’s Waldo” thing? Shoot some fascinating and highly-detailed scene (some good ideas above), then add tiny and amusing figures of SmugMug Heroes hidden among the details. Could entertain the staff as they walk up and down the stairs, searching for their colleagues — maybe a contest?

  188. I see a big bunch of Redwood trees – vertical grandeur from Muir Woods. It goes with the space and would not go out of style!

  189. How about a Hi-Def photo of a gorgeous field of colorful flowers and a bright blue sky one side, and on the other repeat the bottom grassy part of the photo while the top section is a mirror reflecting the opposite wall. Play with the mirrors and lighting in a way so that if the person walking in the hall was to look into the mirror side of the wall it would seem as if he is walking in that field of flowers.

    Does this makes sense? Makes sense in my head, not sure if I’m explaining it right…

  190. Since you mention that you like to be able to see detail that you might not otherwise notice, how about a really crisp photo of the always-moving crowds in Grand Central Station in NYC…something like that? My guess is that every time you’d walk down that stairway you’d notice something new–a girl in a pink dress, a man with a red carnation in his jacket, the headline of the newspaper held by the coffee-drinker on the bench, that kind of thing…

  191. Since you mentioned aviation, I had an image of the new National Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport pop into my head. When you enter the museum you have a view straight ahead of the full sized Space Shuttle mock-up and the SR71 Blackbird (perfect for the tall wall at the turning point in the stairwell). You can then pan right and left to see the rest of the hanger and collection of airplanes that that live in each. (See their floorplan to get a better visual of what I’m describing.)

    Since the hanger is so big, you might need to do multiple DOF exposures and combine them in step one (possible as a HDR as well), then do a step two of stitching together. The largest trick would be to stitch them together correctly (into a half bow-tie shape) to maximize the wall space of the stairs (think of folding the stairs wall into a flat surface and you’ll get the picture).

    I have a few photos from Museum during my last trip back to DC to visit friends. I’ll upload a few photos to my Washington DC gallery once my photo data transfer finishes from my NAS to my DAS.

  192. Life is a roller coaster – have a photographer in the front row of coaster and have the shot be just before you go over the edge so that you can see some of the coaster just tipping up…if you can angle the camera just right and have the scene below nice and will have the whole amusement park laid on either side of your hallway.

  193. How about a dark sky background matching the color of the SF sky in the office with a few added stars (sort of an outer space type thing),with all of the “Hero’s…a few on each side…flying towards the door. And if we could get the entire finish in HDR that would be awesome!

  194. Two thoughts…

    1. Lava Lamp Garden. Shoot some extreme closeups to give the stair-goer the impression that they are floating inside a giant Lava Lamp.

    2. A Bug’s Eye View. Place the stair-goer in the perspective of a bug…huge grass and dandelions the size of Redwoods. Maybe throw in a gigantic shoe.

  195. How about a shot of a crisp blue sky with a single jet and its engine trails behind saeeping all the way along the wall..


  196. My idea: Have you ever ridden the gondola from the top of Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Ski Resort looking down on the lake? Its the closest thing to a heavenly view with all the characteristics you asked for. It has lots of light, great views and mimics the up/down of the gondola as you go up or down on the staircase.
    For details, you have the skiers/boarders and framing of the gondola and for the majestic view, the lake scenary from up above. And it’s all within driving distance for you guys. Awe inspiring scenes.
    Thanks again for the truly beautiful service you provide all of us on Smugmug.

  197. Make it a tropical rainforest scene with different frogs, insects, and animals magnified. Just for kicks, you can put some animals whose eyes glow in the dark so you can turn off the stairway lights and get the experience of walking in the jungle at night, too. You can also play jungle ambient noises to add to the atmosphere.

  198. What about an aerial shot of Golden Gate Park? So much detail – Kezar Stadium, De Young Museum, Japanese Tea Garden, Academy of Sciences, windmills, roaming buffalo!

  199. How about making it look like you opened the door and you’re exiting the side of a skyscraper or tall building, looking down you see the street below, looking to the right and left you can see the side of the building and the street going off in the distance. Like you’re really walking off the side of the building! And the stairs lead up to a door that enters a covered bridge that goes to the building across the street.

  200. You need something with a LOT of detail to be really worthwhile, which means a gigapan-type of image. I’ve got a couple of ideas:

    1. A satellite image of something like Washington-to-Boston or all of California would certainly be neat. You could get some awesome detail there, although I’m not sure how easy it would be to assemble.

    2. A giga-pan of the Forum in Rome or the Acropolis in Athens. Both offer a lot of detail and unparalleled historical significance.

    3. Of course, if you want something natural, you could easily find someone to take a great photo of either a Tepui landscape in Venezuela-Guyana or the Serengeti, Ngorogoro, Tsavo, Mt.Kilimanjaro area in Kenya/Tanzania. The latter would have a LOT of opportunity for small detail with migrating wildlife and probably be much easier to get to. The Tepuis are pretty remote.

  201. Since it’s a narrow corridor, how about an urban alley, or the SF streets that lead to TransAmerica building, (replacing the Eiffel tower with TA building?)

  202. Couple ideas:

    1- Inside of a cave… spelunking. Take a panoramic shot within a cave with the opening towards the top of the stairs and the depths of the cave towards the bottom.

    2- Panoramic of the Sky Walk at the Grand Canyon. The stairs would be the Sky Walk and the walls would be the Grand Canyon.

    If these ideas have already been mentioned, forgive me. I didn’t read through every reponse.

  203. I like the idea of using a picture from the Mall of America as if you are on the escalators at Christmastime. Awesome!

  204. How about the inside of an ice-cave?
    You are inside walls anyway.

    A nicely selected ice cave with thin walls could be very bright. The detail will show up the ice detail and tonality beautifully.


  205. The space is fairly confined, so you want something that doesn’t add to that confined feeling. A really fine macro of bright green blades of grass, shot from “bug’s eye view” with clear, nearly white sky would help to make the space feel less confining. If you could get the shot with even a few little bugs (really little), that would complete the picture.

  206. I remember as a child going to the Badlands and taking a walk on one of those wooden and rope bridges. What if you gave that feeling that if you step off to the left or right it is all cliffs?

    It would also be a nice, far off view with many colors to take away from the confined space.

  207. Make it a Aquarium, 1. you could create a “home aquarium” and fill it with whatever the kids like plus have fun creating it. Crashed planes , treasure, or whatever represents each staff member. Fill with beautifull fish and shoot it like a pano. Nice easy controled shot.

    Photoshop staff faces on the scuba divers…lol

  208. I think a really cool picture for the stairway would be this….

    Since it is a stairway and thus takes people both up and down something that would be fantastic to shoot and put on those walls would be an image that starts somewhere like a coral reef, yes underwater, and then gradually, as you climb the stairs, you are taken to the sea level, and then up and up. Maybe something in Hawaii where you can go from beautiful underwater scenery up to land and then continue up the sides of a volcano or jungle vegetation.

    So from under water, to sea level, to tree level.

    Talk about something for everyone! Think about the colors and the various lighting that would play off the ascent and decent for the people walking up. It would be like walking from under water to high in the trees. I think that would be really unique and very cool.

  209. I’m fairly new at community input – however, i would keep it simple. I’d probably have a garden pool scene. Either wall, left and right would be giving vision of lush garden/beautiful flowers, with the front wall being an image of the most inviting swimming pool. The light reflecting off the water and stairs enticing you to come take a dip. very refreshing.
    cheers. vic

  210. I’d like to see your stair case land at the top of Niesenbahn. It is the longest stairway in the world with 11,674 steps. It is open only once a year to the public for a stair run. So your comission would need to get hot, the case is open for the race on June 5, 2010.

    I have to say, a good shot down Niesenbahn might make me hold on to the rails a little tighter.


    1. I also like the idea of a 360 with an oasis at the center of the landing. Huacachina [], and Chebika [] are two that come to mind.

      Niesenbahn [] is such a spectacular location a 360 would fill the space visually.

  211. I see this narrow space as the waterways of Venice, Italy! The short middle wall as a gondola in Venice; the perimeter walls are are the buildings that line the waters, showing the ornate details of the city. The ceiling captures the bright blue sky with wispy clouds. Perhaps the photo can be taken at sunrise or sunset for a dramatic feel.

    Enjoy your trip there to capture the photograph and have a glass of wine for me!

  212. I am seeing this hallway as being part of the great wall in china… intricate details of flags and stone, the beautiful sky.. gorgeous!

    my other idea would be the inside of a large building (parthenon, pantheon, whatever it’s called haha)

    and one last idea is the famous room filled with mirrors, gold, and windows in the palace at Versailles in France. Beautiful

  213. How about as you walk up the stairs, it is like you’re rising up in a ski-lift getting further up the mountain. Every few stairs, you are even with a ski-lift chair that has a person looking back at you (waving at you), holding a detailed photo for you to look at. It would be fun to shoot the lift chair from parallel ski lifts, and then photoshop in other photos into the frame.

  214. Hi,

    To be honest I’ve not looked through all the comments so I don’t know if this has been suggested or not, but if not here goes.

    I would suggest you ask your users to mail you a picture of themselves (I’m thinking something from a web cam or a phone but it could be more serious portraiture as well) and then create a mosaic and line your stairway with all the happy faces of all the people you touch in a positive way every minute of every day.

    Perhaps one of the hardest things to do at a company whose interactions with customers is through a CSS style sheets and to a lesser extents customer service inquiries, rather than face to face, one can lose track of all the people for whom your service is valuable and wonderful.

    Imagine how energized you and your employees can be, going up or down the stairs saying, “these are the people who are counting on us, they are legion and we will do our best to give them the best possible experience.”

    Just a thought,

  215. I don’t have the equipment to do it, but I do have a suggestion for the stairwell walls. If you can get a panoramic of Luray caverns in Virginia it would seem as though you were descending into the darkness…
    *I* think it would be great!

  216. What about a lot of precious and semi-precious stones, either randomly placed or in rainbow order? That would be interesting.

  217. Your wall needs a giant print of one of these :: or or or

    One of my favorite photographer is Sean Davey ( You should see some of his ocean/surf work. He also has a great selection of panoramas he just completed along the California coastline. See more here:

  218. You know the worst thing about decorating a space where folks spend a lot of if not quality time then certainly time, is the ignore factor. Once we’ve seen the two headed calf we have seen the. . . two headed calf! I loved the idea of the shark tunnel and the Escher concepts. I also loved the statement that why NOT mess with folks heads in such a small space? Sick but inventive.
    “Ok Stan, move that upside down stairway just . . .There! Great” Now let’s see how many folks we can get to miss the most steps on their way down!, sure we’re insured. Why do you ask? You’re not a team player are ya Stan!?”
    So how to accomplish both ideas? Create an idea of movement within that static display. Photograph folks on escalators. Jeez! You could set up remote cameras with some small dodgy attractor like a balloon or a small marmot in a wheelchair. Anything to attract the gaze of the bored up or down bound shopper. Shoot at different places for several days. Then stitch what you want with PS turning the linear view every which way as a result. This is not about grandeur or expansive spacial irony I think. It is about how quickly we get bored with anything we see over and over. Sure the shark tunnel would work. But, only if it were a real shark tunnel. Or really the moving ISS, or some other changing scenic. The point is this. Arguably the most interesting thing, which gets the most attention and appreciation from us as humans is other humans. If done right It could be years of falling down these stairs before you took in all the others staring back at you. Just thinking. Lar

  219. I just found this…
    What about a panoramic shot from the Eiffel Tower from below? At night, when its illuminated.

    I have a single shot pointing straight up. Since it’s forbidden to publish such shots, I cannot give a public link here. But I can send a private message if anybody wants to… I think.


  220. Well, in November, we are headed to Florida to watch one of the last Space shuttle lift offs. I am renting a 100-400 mm L lens to capture this. Hopefully I can get some good shots at 100 ISO! 😉

    Let me know if you are interested…..

  221. Well, we went to the launch and it fizzled….

    I did how ever get those shots again with a tripod and at 100 ISO.

    I also got a few shots of the shuttle but the RSS(Rotating Service Structure) was around it at the time so all you see is the large External Tank….

  222. I would like to see a “surround shot” from an Olympics opening ceremony — including the people in the stands and a country or two’s worth of athletes entering/walking the track, carrying their flags and waving…

  223. I have a few ideas. How about a large concert? Photo taken from the stage with thousands of fans with plenty of details or a large football game (super bowl?) taken on the field with the field lines opening up to all the details of the fans, players, etc. They could be taken in panoramic or fisheye.

    My last (but not least) idea would be the Kentucky Derby. The colors on the horses, jockeys, and don’t forget all of the artistic hats that the guest wear! Does it get any better? I live close to Churchill Downs and would feel privileged to be part of capturing the image or helping you capture the image.

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