I’ve got this really cool little toy that goes with my Rolleiflex – a panoramic head adapter. It’s basically a little plate with a disc in it divided into twelve segments, and an integrated bubble level. The plate goes between the Rolleiflex and the tripod head. The disc has a locking mechanism and click stops that allow it to be rotated a fixed number of degrees, corresponding to 1/12th of a circle (30 degrees) which is also more or less the field of view of the lens on the Rolleiflex. This would allow you to photograph a 360 degree panorama on a single roll of 120 film.
A 360 degree panorama is a bit much, and pretty tough to pull off. I’ve been playing with doing two-frame and three-frame panoramas, which seem plenty wide already. Here is one I took this afternoon at the little plaza in front of the Tivoli Theater in Columbia Heights.
It does a pretty good job of matching up the frames, with just a few degrees of overlap, enough to make the blending and alignment relatively easy. If you’re paying attention you can see the seams where some things just don’t match up angle-wise, and where the car gets cut off between exposures.
This one I composed a little differently – in selecting what to include, I left a little bit of film border in between each frame because I think it compliments the overall image – the black borders echo nicely the black bars of the fence in front of the bikes. Although I have two bikes in the center frame, and one each in the left and right frames, each frame does feel distinctly different.
I decided to get a little playful and have fun with the crazy angles you can get from a panorama when you aren’t level to the horizon. I wanted all of the conical roof of the turret on the house on the corner in the picture, so I tilted the camera up (the other option would have been to go home and bring a step-ladder, and raise the tripod to its maximum height, and even then I might not have gotten the shot I was looking for).
And last but not least, back to the fully merged panorama. This one I didn’t get the horizon quite as straight as I should have, and so the outside images were a little crooked, and the center one was definitely not level, so I had to play with how I aligned them and cropped them to make it look relatively normal. I like the look of this one despite its flaws.