Teddy Roosevelt Island – Panoramics

As you’ve seen, I’ve been playing around lately with the panoramic head for my Rolleiflex, trying out some two and three frame panoramas. With each additional frame in the panorama, it gets harder to stitch together and keep aligned, and to match exposure. Not to mention the people who get caught at the periphery of a frame and then move so they’re missing a limb or something in the second frame.

I can’t explain what my fascination with traffic cones is, but this one, marking out the collapsed section of the middle of the observation deck, was just so perfectly positioned that it needed to be photographed, both as a single frame and as a panorama. This couple strolled in to the scene as I was shooting, and I decided that they added an interesting dimensional element to the scene, so I kept photographing while they were there instead of waiting for them to leave.

Marsh Overlook
Marsh Overlook

This is one scene where a three-frame panorama just doesn’t quite fit. I think the imbalance of the fountain basin makes it more interesting than having everything balanced and proportionate. What do you think? Do you like the way the imbalance pulls your eye back and forth across the frame from lower left to upper right? Does that feel natural or uncomfortable to you?

Fountain
Fountain

I’m getting in more practice with including people in scenes. My instinct is, for some reason, to photograph places without people in them. But now that I’m getting better at doing it, it’s starting to feel more appropriate to include them. It certainly humanizes the place, and helps give it a sense of purpose and utility, like this is somewhere that people actually want to go and do things, and not some empty monument to a long-dead dictator who, like Ozymandias, has no meaning to the people of today beyond his statue and inscription.

Teddy Roosevelt Monument
Teddy Roosevelt Monument

I didn’t photograph the inscriptions on the marble slabs around the periphery of the Roosevelt monument because I think that A: those kinds of photos make for very boring photos, and B: the rendering of those quotes into two dimensions grossly undercuts the meaning of the quotes and the experience of reading them in-situ. I would strongly suggest, though, that anyone interested check out The Theodore Roosevelt Center website for the full extent of the quotes. They are profound meditations on the nature of man and his environment, politics, and government every bit as appropriate and relevant today as they were when Teddy was president at the dawn of the 20th century.

One thought on “Teddy Roosevelt Island – Panoramics”

  1. I think the imbalance in the fountain works well, especially because the steps lead me naturally to the fountain. Without those steps, I think the placement of the fountain in the photo might fee a bit uncomfortable.

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