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  1. #1

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    Panoramic cameras circa 1905

    My great-great-grandfather was a photographer in Oklahoma around the turn of the 20th Century, and he was a pioneer in panoramic photography. In my aunt's words, he pioneered panoramic photography, though I haven't been able to find out if he really had a role in the development of the format or not. A few of his panoramas are in the Library of Congress.
    Tulsa, OK
    Cheyenne Indian encampment
    Cheyenne sun dancer

    My question is, what kind of camera would have been used in 1908 and 1909 to take this kind of panorama? Unfortunatly, no one in my family that I know of has any of his equipment.
    Last edited by noexit; 10-11-2005 at 11:22 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: fix links

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Your image links aren't working.

    A panoramic format camera like a 7x17" or 8x20" camera would have been the main option. These were conventional view cameras that used sheet film in panoramic proportions.

    The Cirkut Camera was first manufactured in 1902. This was a rotating camera that used large format roll film that moved past a swinging lens. The time of the exposure was such that a common trick for group photographs was to have one person run behind the group ahead of the lens after being photographed at one end, so they would appear at both ends of the photograph.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3

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    According to what I see on your links, these were multiple exposures that were mounted adjacent to each other. I see at least one joint in a couple of images and four joints in one. This could have been done with any camera that was precisely leveled. and rotated for subsequent exposures.

    While these are presented as panoramic images, they are not true panoramics in the sense that the Cirkut camera or the banquet cameras would have provided. The banquet formats (7X17, 8X20, and 12X20) would have used one sheet of film as would the Cirkut.

  4. #4
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    According to what I see on your links, these were multiple exposures that were mounted adjacent to each other. I see at least one joint in a couple of images and four joints in one. This could have been done with any camera that was precisely leveled. and rotated for subsequent exposures.

    While these are presented as panoramic images, they are not true panoramics in the sense that the Cirkut camera or the banquet cameras would have provided. The banquet formats (7X17, 8X20, and 12X20) would have used one sheet of film as would the Cirkut.
    The question to me is whether it is the negative or the print that was cut into segments. The prints could have been cut or folded for storage. The last link shows a group of people. If you zoom in on the center, there is a person standing there, right at the cut (I think). She (he?) appears to have a blanket draped over her shoulders. I can't see her standing there long enough for the photographer to reposition the camera.

    Matt

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattCarey
    The question to me is whether it is the negative or the print that was cut into segments. The prints could have been cut or folded for storage. The last link shows a group of people. If you zoom in on the center, there is a person standing there, right at the cut (I think). She (he?) appears to have a blanket draped over her shoulders. I can't see her standing there long enough for the photographer to reposition the camera.

    Matt
    He would not have had to reposition the camera...just swung the camera on the tripod head. Could have been done in a matter of seconds. I don't see that anyone would have cut the negatives or the print because it would have severly compromised their value. However, I may be wrong.

    Considering the aspect ratio of the image, it wasn't any of the conventional banquet formats. Considering the indian encampment image and the aspect ratio of the other two images, I would wonder if this wasn't shot with 8X10...that would make a 40X8 appr. image

  6. #6

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    Here some better links. Clicking on small sized scan will open a larger jpeg, with a link to a still larger tiff.

    http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pan.6a08685
    http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pan.6a08735
    http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pan.6a08724

    On the second scan especially, there are signs that it was folded. While I'm not an expert at this type of photography, I agree with the poster who sugested that they were not spliced from multiple negitives. The match seems too good to have been done by rotating the camera. These prints are 6.5"x36.5" for the first one, and 6"x42" for the second two. 97 years ago, they probably were'nt thinking about their future value, they just needed a way to store them, so they were folded.

  7. #7
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    I purchased a Russian Horizon swinging lens camera in 1994. Since then I've taken quite a few panoramic pictures and have gotten to know the little points that can turn a picture bad easily and also I've picked up some information to note when a swinging lens camera has been used.

    Take the point with the two landscape pictures, that in general, the horizon is in the middle, roughly, which negates the rising or dipping of the land. This is pretty much the only way a swinging lens camera can take a normal perspective type picture.

    Also the buildings exhibit one of the quirks of a swinging lens camera. If you look at the Tulsa picture, pan to the right and check out the white (ish) building. You should notice that it appears slightly curved. This effect happens because the lens is swinging towards the right, or end of the frame and the image is actually a curved image. Roughly central is the main street, which appears pretty normal as it should. Then as the image goes to the left, check out the building with the white writing on it, it starts to curve just like the white one on the other side of the picture. The horizon on the far left is not in the centre and as a result is dipping, this is another characteristic of a swinging lens camera.

    The big Indian one with the big tent in the middle and the big fold mark also has a really interesting pointer to what I think is definitely a swinging lens camera. Just to the left of the big fold mark there are two women walking. The woman on the right is very blurred, indicating that she is walking faster than the other woman. My thoughts are that the woman on the left is moving slightly towards the camera and therefore moving slower, as far as the camera is concerned, whilst the women on the right is walking directly across the front of the camera in the opposite direction to the movement of the swinging lens. Therefore she becomes shortened, which appears to have happened!

    This thinning is pretty much what I have observed with my own swinging lens camera. I have made my neice very thin, once by having her walk right to left as I took an exposure, then made her quite wide, by having her walk left to right in another exposure. I have also noted curving buildings just like those in the Tulsa picture.

    I think I'm certain that these pictures would have been made on a swinging lens camera.

    I have never seen a Cirkut camera, does anybody out there know what direction they swing from. The lens on the camera that took the picture of the woman walking, appears to be one that swings from left to right.

    Mick.

  8. #8
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Aside from all the technical detail, it must be fantastic to have such a historical record in your family. I spent a very long time looking at these, very enjoyable, thankyou for posting them.


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  9. #9
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Stanford University has many panaromas from the early part of last century. Most of them were folded when they were originally stored. This could very well account for the folds/creases in the images shown to us.
    Non Digital Diva

  10. #10

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    Didn't EKCo make a swing lens panoramic camera back then?

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