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The Assignment
To see how Photosynth works, we recruited top action photographer Corey Rich to find an iconic adventure landmark that he could shoot from any angle. Midnight Lightning was the perfect choice, but shooting it presented new challenges. "To work in the realm of 3-D, I approached the boulder almost as if a track had been laid down around it, moving very methodically as to not miss anything," recalls Rich. "I also had to keep in mind the details, being sure to capture the key holds of the boulder problem. Most important, I wanted to show a sequence of Tommy’s climb from several angles."

For Rich to capture some 3,500 frames, Caldwell climbed the route about a dozen times in 90-degree temperatures—not ideal. With bouldering, grip is everything, as there are no ropes and only foam crash pads to cushion falls. "In cool weather, I find Midnight Lightning pretty easy," recalls Caldwell, who first climbed it a decade ago. "But for the shoot, it was hard. I failed as many times as I succeeded." Still, the sport has a magic all its own, especially for the Lance Armstrong of rock climbing. "The energy surrounding bouldering can be amazing," says Caldwell. "The problem-solving, the physical and mental challenges—they all make for an incredible experience."

How It Works: Photosynth Highlights
- See 360-degree views of the Columbia Boulder
- Learn how to climb Midnight Lightning by examining key holds
- Use the navigation arrows to zoom in, out, up, and down
- Press the “play” button to automate the navigation of the synth
- View each of the 500 images individually

Next: About the Photographer
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  • the links don't work to see the 3d climbing (or i can't easily find where to click)... what's up?
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