Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wide and Wonderful

Panorama of the Flint Hills
Panorama of the Flint Hills Captured by Martha Dameron
Last week I was in a meeting with Elise Ellis, Black River Imaging's Social Media Guru and a professional photograher and iPhoneographer. I was admiring the thinness and lightness of her new iPhone 5 when she picked it up, slowly turned in a half circle, then showed us a panoramic image of our entire conference room. I was hooked. I was even happier when I realized that iOS 6 had added the panoramic capability to my iPhone 4S also.

Panoramic photography, a method that captures an image with an elongated field of view, dates back to the 1840s. The earliest patents describe a hand cranked device that could capture a 150° field of view on a Daguerreotype up to 24 inches long. After the invention of flexible film in 1888, a number of Panoramic cameras were introduced. Typically, these cameras used a lens which rotated around a curved film plane as the image was captured. The negatives from these cameras were typically larger than a standard 35mm frame, often 24 by 58mm.

Georgia Pass Panoramic
Georgia Pass by Martha Dameron

School photography companies, including Inter-State Studio and Publishing, used Panoramic film cameras to capture large groups through the end of the 20th century. As it became more difficult to maintain the older panoramic printing systems, we would cut the negatives in half, scan both halves and stitch them together digitally to be printed on our digital photographic printers. A few years ago, the improvements in the resolution of our professional digital cameras allowed us to retire the panoramic film cameras completely.

In 1996, a consortium of film manufacturers and photo processing companies greatly damaged the reputation of panoramic photography with the launch of the Advanced Photo System. Despite its name, the system was not very advanced and created a panoramic image by simply cropping the bottom and top from a normal format image. People quickly discovered that these had a narrower field of view than they expected and insufficient negative area to produce an acceptable enlargement.

Camp Hale Panoramic
Camp Hale by Martha Dameron

Fortunately, in 2010, Sony began adding a Sweep Panorama mode to their consumer cameras that allowed the user to capture high resolution panoramic images with a wide field of view by rotating the camera. These cameras capture multiple standard format frames and automatically stitch them into a single wide format panoramic image. The Sony system was used by photographer Martha Dameron to capture each of the panoramas included in this post.

The addition of panoramic capture to the iPhone is exciting because the iPhone is the camera many of us carry with us all of the time. Now we can preserve the memory of the scenes that unfold all around us everyday. These images make ideal content for Panoramic photo books and wide format wall decor.

Panoramic stretch of road
A stretch of road by Martha Dameron

Earlier this year, Elise's iPhoneography was featured in an exhibit of metal prints at the OTC Fine Arts Gallery in Springfield Missouri. Elise exhibits her iPhone images on metal because the "dye sublimation process fuses the image to a piece of metal, creating incredible visual depth and luminosity."  Since the metal prints can also be ordered in custom sizes to fit the aspect ratios of panoramic images, I will be surprised if her next showing doesn't include a few elongated prints.

If you would like to learn more about iPhoneography from Elise Ellis, she will be talking about the ins and outs of smart phone photography at the Gillioz Theater in Springfield Missouri on Saturday October 20th. The event is a benefit for the historic theater organized by the OTC Fine Arts Department.

Eclectic shop panoramic
An eclectic shop by Martha Dameron

You might also like:

Cellphone Array Camera

Photography in 3D

Sincerely Social




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