Swing-Lens shot of Modern Motorcyclists

Discussion in 'Panoramic Cameras and Accessories' started by DougGrosjean, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Hi all,

    Had some friends over for lunch at the Michigan Cafe in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn MI on Saturday afternoon.

    Before leaving, I asked if they'd mind if I took their photo. Quickly explained how my Widelux FV worked, that we'd put the bikes in a 120 degree arc with the camera at the center, take the shot, and in the pic they'd all be nose-to-tail in a straight line.

    Tried to arrange them from the most-sophisticated to the least, ie, the late model BMW first, then the Yamaha, then a slightly older Suzuki, then my 1992 BMW, and finally a little 50cc Honda, whose rider had come north from Windsor, Ontario aboard it. Looking at the result, it may have also been from heaviest to lightest.

    The first pic, taken by my g/f Sharon Suhrie with a modern non-film point-n-shoot, shows us getting the bikes in position, ie, placing them in an arc:

    http://photo.net/bboard-uploads/00PES6-43039084.jpg

    Second shot shows the result, with the Widelux. I composed and set everything up, and my g/f Sharon actually pushed the button for this one, allowing me to share the spotlight with my friends:

    http://photo.net/bboard-uploads/00PES9-43039184.jpg

    In keeping with the spirit of the old-tyme group pano photogs, I wrote in the names of each rider below their bike, and wrote in the name of the event in the upper LH corner as well.

    Enjoy!
     
  2. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Nice shot. Had you included a vintage Honda CB750, it would have been nicer.:wink:
     
  3. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    My dad has an '83 Honda Goldwing. I was born that year. His previous was a Honda as well, an '82 something-or-other, I can't remember. He bought it brand new, IIRC, the year it was made, and I grew up getting rides on it every spring and summer. Adam and I are saving up for one. We have a while to go, though...we want to buy it around the time that our daughter is old enough to go on rides. :smile:
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Nice one. Pity there are all so new. Where are the real bikes. BSAs, Nortons, Triumphs, Velocettes, Matchless, AJS, Royal Enfield etc. The bolts and nuts were AF not metric. The tanks held gallons not litres. The speedos registered mph not kph. The engine beats could be counted. You can probably see a common thread here It's called Classic( nearly all British) Bikes. Come to think of it a lot of the above applies to U.S. bikes so I'll even allow the odd Indian and one with two names - Harley something I think.

    pentaxuser
     
  5. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Bobwysiwyg:
    Thanks! We didn't have a CB-750 handy. But at least we did have one Honda....

    Stephanie:
    In 1983, I was working in motorcycle shops in Arizona and just getting involved with photography. But funny thing is that your post about riding with your daughter - I wrote a book on the subject, titled "Wheels;" there are reviews at Amazon. My son, now nearly 14 y/o, rode a lot with me from about 5 y/o to about 12 y/o. First chapter was his first ride on the back of my Concours at age 5, picking him up from kindergarten, and the last chapter was when he learned to ride a dirbike at age 8 at Honda Rider Education Center in Troy, Ohio. He thinks he outgrew motorcycles, but I've got a hunch the virus is simply in remission in the boy.

    Pentaxuser:
    Well, my BMW is a 1960s design, with pushrods and the cam in the block. Basic layout identical to the 1969 R75/5 BMW, but with hardened cylinders and electronic ignition and a single-sided swingarm.

    I was actually going to title that pic "Devolution", as the bikes get simpler and lighter as you go from left to right, but figured it would kinda bother all my friends if I did that.
     
  6. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Doug, this is a terrific shot and a great idea.

    I have a Widelux F7 AND a Triumph Thunderbird...something as simple as arranging the bikes specifically gave a great result.

    Happy shooting and happy riding too!
     
  7. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Colin,

    It (arranging subjects in an arc) is a very old technique, from the days of rotating Cirkut panoramic cameras 100 years ago. Here in the States, every small town has pics 8"x36" of graduating classes, family reunions, etc... I dunno about other places in the world. But that's how they were done. More people? No problem - either rotate through more degrees of arc, add rows, make the arc bigger; or all 3.

    But am glad you liked! It's the first time I tried that technique, and I'm thrilled with the way it worked out too.
     
  8. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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  9. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Man, that's wide. Shame about the rather uninspiring background - you could have had a great shot here with something other than a bunch of parked cars mottling up the frame.
     
  10. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Walter, thanks.

    Was the best we could do, as I don't think the museum would let us put the bikes on a walkway just for a photo. And I couldn't shoot when there's no cars, because my friends weren't arriving till 1:00 pm.

    OTOH, I sorta like the entire HFM being in the background.
     
  11. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Doug, as everyone's favorite blonde would say: "That's hot"
     
  12. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Doug I want that camera. Well done!
     
  13. maxim

    maxim Member

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    Nice work Doug!
     
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  15. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    Nice shot I like the way you wrote on it. Like you said, it's like the old cirkut shots. I've never been able to bring myself to write on the negs like they used to do though
     
  16. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    That's cool, Doug! I've never really gotten into panoramic photography myself but have a 318 degree contact print of 18 Ford Model A's, taken with a Cyclo-Pan 70 according to the label, that has been on my wall since the 1980's. I look forward to seeing more!
     
  17. mark

    mark Member

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    Cool, only the parking lines really give away the curve.
     
  18. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Thanks all, for the kind words. Glad you liked!

    Glad too that my friend humored my request. Going to get a print of it this Friday for myself, I think.

    Jamie, the similarities are intentional. Similar techniques, similar solutions, and similar impact when people see them. I've located a Cirkut BTW, picking it up this summer, but before I get up to speed on it I can hone the composition and group skills with my Widelux and Panoram, on family and friends. There's a couple family reunions I'm going to shoot with pano techniques. I have studio portrait experience, so I'm not afraid and I have a clue.... Have been making drawings and figuring out the best arc radius for X number of people.

    Brian - thanks! My father's into Model T Fords, works on them in his auto repair shop for customers, and there's a big get-together for the 100th anniversary of the Model T Ford in Centerville, IN this summer. Hoping to have lots of subject matter there...
     
  19. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    It's fun to set these shots up. One of my cirkuts came with a big ball of twine and a box of chalk for setting up group shots.Doug - I look forward to seeing more.
    Here are two links for large group shot I did a few years ago.
    First, a color version on my site of the shot
    http://www.jamieyoungphoto.com/sycamore 50tractors.html

    the next link takes you to the aerial shot showing the actual scene. I'm right in the middle
    http://www.threshingbee.org/contents.html
    I used lots of rope to get an accurate circle, and was about 60 feet from the circle.
     
  20. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Jamie, thanks for the tip on chalk and twine. You'll see more pano / swing-lens stuff from me, as I plod along up the learning curve.

    The tractors shots...excellent! I like the one with people better, as the people give scale to the tractors. The aerial shot rocks, too. I was trying to figure out from the furrows just how many degrees of rotation. I was pretty sure it was quite a bit beyond 180, because I could see the furrows in the pano converging in the center of the shot, then straightening out on each side, and then finding convergence points again. I'm impressed that you thought enough about the layout to have the furrows converge in the middle.
     
  21. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    It's about 320 to 330 degrees, and the furrows hit the middle by accident. I actually set the shot up so the sun would be directly behind the middle of the shot, in the narrow gap in the circle, to minimize flare and backlighting. Lighting tends to override the other stuff for me. I like the people shots too, but I was requested to do the other. In the end (after I started breaking down) they all got on the tractors and blew their whistles. It was quite a sound, and sight, which i regretted not being ready for. Oh well.
     
  22. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    << It's about 320 to 330 degrees, and the furrows hit the middle by accident. .... Lighting tends to override the other stuff for me. >>>

    Ah, got it.


    << I like the people shots too, but I was requested to do the other. In the end (after I started breaking down) they all got on the tractors and blew their whistles. It was quite a sound, and sight, which i regretted not being ready for. Oh well. >>

    Could they blow the whistles long enough for you to have caught it on the Cirkut? I'd figured the transit of the camera across 320d would be a minute or so...

    Beautiful stuff, I'm very impressed.

    Here in rural Ohio, we have some stuff like that.... Wauseon has a huge tractor get-together right off Ohio Turnpike. Steam, gasoline, kerosene, etc. But at the couple of them I've attended, nobody was shooting Cirkut photos.
     
  23. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Doug:

    You mentioned how the wide panorams were often taken at family reunions, town gatherings, etc. They were often used for military unit shots which are still seen hanging on the walls in military museums and headquarters. If you examine very many of them you will sometimes see a guidon (unit flag) at each end of the formation of soldiers. If you will check it very closely, the same person will appear with the guidon at each end of the formation.

    A popular thing to do was to have the cameraman yell "now" when he started the shot, the guidon bearer would wait 1 second, then duck down and run behind the formation to the other end and stand there. If he did so with the proper degree of alacrity, he would be in place before the slow moving lens reached that side. Hence, the same guidon bearer appeared on both sides of the panoramic photo.

    Pentaxuser:

    When I was young, back in the 1960's, Dad used to take me for rides on his Henderson motorcycle from the 1930's era . . . sometimes behind him and sometimes in a canvas & frame (like the old timey airplanes) side car.

    EuGene
     
  24. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    B&Jdude,

    There's an entire book of Cirkut photos titled "America by the Yard." In it, they call those types of trick photos "double-enders," and have several examples.

    Funny thing - after reading about that, I looked close at a Cirkut photo in a Detroit restaurant my g/f and I eat at regularly. It's a military group, taken at Belle Isle in the Detroit River, IIRC. Man on horseback at each end. Since it's only a 6" tall Cirkut photo, it's hard to recognize the man - but the horse is one and the same.

    Regarding Hendersons and airplanes.... I have an aquaintance in Boulder CO, whose grandfather Carl Vandre is a bit of a Henderson guru. The grandson is a gifted machinist. Together they build a V-6, then later the grandfather (who learned to run a CNC machine while in his late 70s) built a V8. If you Google the grandfather's name, you'll find it easily - been a lot of magazine articles on it.

    No, I didn't get to ride either one, nor in the sidecar of either one. But Carl saw that my g/f was getting bored with all the men talking machinery, and took her for a spin in the sidecar of the V6. She was sure grinning big when she returned.
     
  25. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    That's a great shot. What do you have there, a 100GS?
    I've borrowed an older widelux and found it quirky but very sharp and well made and once I got used to it (aka-didn't get my thumb in the frame) it became a new way of seeing. I've since bought a much cheaper Horizon202 and though inferior in build and user design, so far so good.
    Victor
    '80 R65
     
  26. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I too think it is a pretty good picture as well. Yes it looks like an R100GS with the American panniers I looked closely at before purchasing the Touratech ones from Germany (actually made in Switzerland though).

    One of the better things you can do with the R100GS is to put another disc and brake caliper from one of the K100 bikes (K100RS I think) and you end up with a set of twin discs up front which really stop in a hurry without twisting the front end.

    An interesting combination for desert rally work that the Swiss, French and Germans do to these bikes, is to put an R1100GS rear end on. They don't break as easily as the original rear end.

    Mick.