Playing with Panoramics – Triptychs

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.

Tivoli Theater
Tivoli Theater

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.

Bikeshare Panorama
Bikeshare Panorama

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).

11th Street
11th Street

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.

Solar Trees, Park Street Plaza
Solar Trees, Park Street Plaza

2 thoughts on “Playing with Panoramics – Triptychs”

  1. Fascinating effect–it sure looks like you had a good time experimenting with the different looks. My favorite is the shot of the bikes. I’m drawn in by your whole series of ordinary objects and the bike shot fits right in with the mailboxes, phone booths, hydrants, etc.

    1. Yes, the bikes definitely fit within the “ordinary objects” theme. I agree that the bikes shot works the best of the bunch. I think it’s also an example of how it pays to go back and photograph the same thing over and over again. It makes you look at a subject in different ways, and learn to see different aspects of the same thing. It’s going to be part of my lesson plan for my “one camera, one lens” class coming up early next year.

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