Not just another free photo question (well, OK, just another free photo question)
June 2, 2006 8:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a very high-rez photo of a cloudy sky, something along these lines. I need to enlarge it to about 2'x1', and I understand that any raw digital image is likely to have to be manipulated to become that large, but if I can find a source with few or no compression artifacts, I can live with the rest. But I'm certain clip art sites, pay or free, aren't going to quite have it (and I'm big on free). Are there atmospheric sites, government or academic, that might have some really large sky photos?
posted by blueshammer to Science & Nature (13 answers total)
The NOAA has photo archives with some good high-res images. You can enlarge normal high-res images to that size without too many problems. Obviously if you look closely, there will be visible pixels but typically the larger the picture, the less closely that people look at them.
posted by JJ86 at 8:15 AM on June 2, 2006

stock.xchng - free high-res stock photos. Just search for "sky" and you're in business.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:28 AM on June 2, 2006

are you certain that clipart sites won't have it? istockphoto, for one, is cheap - under $5 for high res images, usually - and has thousands of photos like this

and this

and stock.xchng is free, and has things like this:

... what are you looking for, specifically, that you think you can't find on one of those?
posted by ab3 at 8:36 AM on June 2, 2006

heh. shoulda' previewed. i guess i don't make much of a mental distinction between "clipart" sites and "stock photography" sites. but yeah, clipart sites might not work very well. oh, and btw, i was just doing searches for "clouds" and "dark clouds"...
posted by ab3 at 8:41 AM on June 2, 2006

Do you have a camera?
posted by caddis at 9:30 AM on June 2, 2006

You may not need as much resolution as you think. How are you going to print it this large? Most large-scale printers actually have very low resolution: walk up close to a billboard and you can see the dots plainly.
posted by bonaldi at 9:31 AM on June 2, 2006

Search the Flickr database for CC licenced photos.
posted by Jairus at 9:59 AM on June 2, 2006

clouds are an easy sample to clone stamp your way into a larger file
posted by pinto at 11:17 AM on June 2, 2006

Response by poster: This is for a boardgame board. I don't need high-rez -- I don't mind pixels and whatnot, or at least I don't mind smoothing and filtering -- but when I blow up a 1200 pixel jpg, the compression artifacts just make it look terrible.

I'll investigate these sources, thanks.
posted by blueshammer at 12:18 PM on June 2, 2006

blueshammer: I would have a professional company do the resizing.. they can do a better job sometimes of maintaining the quality at large physical sizes even with not so huge digital photos.

Even Shutterfly did wonders when I wanted to print a 19"x12" poster of a 2 megapixel photo.
posted by twiggy at 1:00 PM on June 2, 2006

if you'd like, you can use this
If you sell the game, I just want credit. the big copy is here.
posted by notsnot at 4:51 PM on June 2, 2006

I'll second the iStockphoto suggestion... but I'm clearly biased. Here's a search for 12megapixel or larger photos of a Cloudy Sky
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:13 PM on June 2, 2006

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