At the bottom of our stairs we have a big blank wall. We used to have a copy of the Declaration of Independence there– mostly because we bought it on a trip to Washington, D.C. years ago and didn’t really have a place to put it, and the big blank wall suggested itself. But in a tragic accident yesterday, the Declaration was destroyed and now we’re left with a big blank wall again.

So we’ve been talking about what to put there, and at dinner the idea came: create a huge photo montage of thousands of our family pictures, arranged to make up a larger image. I think these are called “photomosaics”.

Anyway, a few minutes of hunting around and a bit of configuration work on my laptop, and I have the software I need to generate these cool pictures.

First, scan and index all 14,000 digital photos in our archive. Unfortunately not all of them are family shots: there are pictures of house projects, computer parts, random photos the kids took, and so on. But I’ll worry about cleaning that up later.

Second, pick a good candidate photo. I grabbed one at random from our album:

Third, run the software against the photo using the index data. The result is pretty sweet:

Although it’s hard to see at this resolution, the end result is a huge image made up of thousands of smaller photos. Here’s a zoom on one area of the mosaic (the bottom of the cookie, to be precise):

All of this in about thirty minutes. Now I can get serious and do some better indexing, and find a master photo that would be really fun.