See the New and Monumental Panama Canal From Above

Panama canal will be a miracle.


When photographer George Steinmetz first gazed at Panama’s new canal, he was reminded of Margaret Bourke-White’s pictures of Fort Peck Dam, which graced the cover of LIFE magazine in November of 1936.

In both cases, the imposing structures are robust reminders of the power of human engineering. “When you look at the size of a man next to this massive technology, it’s pretty impressive,” says Steinmetz, who photographed Panama’s new lock and gate systems on the Caribbean and Pacific sides for TIME.

To accommodate larger vessels and increased maritime traffic, Panama has been building a new pair of locks on both sides of the canal. The $5.25 billion expansion project will double the canal’s capacity and open in early 2016.

“I think I was asked to do this because my specialty is to take aerial photographs, and that’s the best way to get an idea of the scale of what’s…

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