Recently, whilst moving files across to a new-to-me computer, I found some in-camera panoramas from a couple of years back. Created by making a series of consecutive images as the camera is passed across the scene. The negatives are then copied/printed as a block to create a joiner-cum-panorama style image. I posted one to my Twitter account (see below) and it gathered a fair bit of attention including some comments about applying the technique to the urban or built environment.
I took it as a Challenge.
Within a matter of minutes I’d picked up the Olympus Pen EE3 half-frame 35mm film camera that is my go-to tool for these images. A roll of Ilford HP5+ was quickly loaded and I couldn’t resist a cheeky five-frames from my armchair.
My approach to making these images is very simple and the key is not moving my feet, just my upper body. So, standing (or sitting) still throughout the process, I start with my torso slightly pointing to the left and move the upper half of my body until my torso is pointing slightly right. I’ve found that it helps to decide how many frames I’m planning on before starting so that the middle frame is made looking straight ahead. It is actually easier to do than write down. I typically make three or five exposures per sweep but have also made these images with four, six, seven and even nine. These are usually as a single strip but I do occasionally make nine exposures in a grid pattern.
There’s nothing complex about my technique, see above, but that leaves me free to concentrate on composition. The Olympus EE3 is also an automatic camera which really does mean freedom for this technique.
In terms of post production I cut the negatives into strips corresponding to the composition. So, instead of six strips each containing six negatives (or twelve, this is a half-frame camera) I have lots of strips of three, five or six half-sized negatives. Rather than sleeve these I place the negatives in an envelope knowing the frame numbers will help me reconstitute the grid-style joiners.
If not printing these in the darkroom I digitise them in my usual way with a digital camera. I use a diffuser to place the negatives on (the one from my Pixl-latr works well) and also a small piece of clean glass to hold them flat and in place. I will at some point invest in a piece of newton glass but for now am happy cloning out any newton rings.
So, there you have it. My simple approach to multi-frame panoramic joiners or whatever you’d like to call them. It’s a technique I’d typically only used whilst away on holiday but apart from the tweeted image at the start all of these were made in my local urban environment a couple of days ago especially for this blog post.