Pano Display and Shoot - Heritage Fest, Wood County, Ohio
I’m picking up a Cirkut camera in NYC in July, but in the meantime I’m working on composition and “crowd control” in group panoramics using my Widelux FV and my Kodak Panoram, and honing my skills, figuring that if my composition skills are well-practiced with a swing-lens, then I’ll only have to deal with learning the mechanical aspects of running the Cirkut. Self-teaching by modules, and hoping I’m not just naïve…
To that end, I had a panoramic photography display at a local Heritage Festival this past weekend, held at the Wood County (Ohio) Historical Museum outside Bowling Green, Ohio. A former working farm, poorhouse, and insane asylum; it’s been a museum for about 35 years now. Along with the farm / poorhouse / asylum buildings, they have an oil well display from Ohio’s oil boom 100 years ago, a log cabin from local pioneer days, and a vintage tractor / engine club normally has 30-40 tractors and engines on display at the Heritage Festival as well.
I had a small booth there, displaying panoramic photos of mostly local NW Ohio scenes, small town life, and a couple of abandoned small town sites along Route 66 from Summer 2007. About 8 scenes were in 12x36 frames, matted too; and then I had maybe 20 misc. smaller shots that were dry-mounted. There were a lot of people looking at my pano pics on display, and I sold a couple of small ones, and I sold a copy of my book as well (Wheels, about motorcycling with my son when he was young).
Original plan was to have me there as a demonstrator, and to do a group panoramic at the end of the day on Saturday and Sunday, either with the Widelux or the Panoram, depending on number of volunteers willing to be in it.
While there was a lot of interest in my pans, and I even had a request to shoot a wedding, it turns out there wasn't much interest in a group pano from the general public, so the Saturday pano of attendees and volunteers was a bust. I took one, but it was only about a dozen people, they weren't thrilled to be in it, and it shows. After that, I stuck around for a while longer on Saturday, shooting some panos of the tractor displays.
But that's not the whole story - Sunday was a whole different deal…
I showed proofs of my Saturday shots (the small group pano, and some panos of the tractors) to the vintage power club mentioned above. The club president jumped all over the pics, showing them to people there, and asking me if I could take a group panoramic of their club. Sure, I was there anyway, manning my booth full of local panoramics - why not?
I wanted a volunteer to help me lay out the arc, and so one of the club members volunteered his 17 y/o granddaughter. A nice girl, talkative and friendly, has played with film in school, and laying out the arc with a surveyor's tape and some neon string was pleasant.
After we laid it out, the club president suggested putting the club trailer in the pic, and I agreed, so the deed was done, and Sarah and I laid out the arc again, and took the shot. Adding the trailer really makes the shot, and between the trailer and the oil well background, it's a very nice portrait of the group.
I shot on speculation, giving them a very reasonable price per print, to see if it would turn out to be a good deal due to multiple orders of that one shot, exactly the biz model the old-tyme group photogs used.
Looks like that's going to turn out OK, as we were guests this past Monday night at their monthly meeting in Bowling Green OH, and we took some orders and the pics were a hit.
One fellow at the meeting asked for a quote on a 360-degree shot of 25 tractors in a circle, belonging to him and 4 friends, and we'll be talking again. Yes, I can do it. Won’t be easy, and given the gear I’m using I’m going to suggest two 360 shots on a circle half as large… one with half the tractors facing CW, the other with the remaining tractors facing CCW, to be hung together.
Here's Saturday's "Row of Tractors" shot, which led to the Sunday shots:
Sunday - Old-tyme group pano, local vintage power club, 16' radius:
Sunday - Trio of Farmalls, no driver:
Sunday - Trio of Farmalls, with driver:
I like the Farmall pics. The owner had to hand-crank the two Farmalls on the ends, and I wasn't sure the big green one would fire. Neither was he, had had a hell of a storm on Friday, and he worried the mag may have had water in it – but it fired after a half-dozen tries, and the red one fired on maybe the second try.
The biggest lesson learned was that the group has to be sold on the idea, and enthused about it. They should know each other, so that the picture (for them) is a picture of friends. Nobody has any reason to buy a photo of themselves and a bunch of strangers.
So yeah, it turned out well so far. I learned a couple good lessons, did some good work, and made some contacts. I didn't get rich or anything, but it was a good learning experience, and I think I've still got some sales to make from the negs I shot over the weekend.
I'll be at "Photostock 2008" - The 3rd Annual Northern Michigan Photographer's Gathering" next week with a few cirkuts if you want to go out to shoot.
25 tractors is a lot but a longer lense on a cirkut will help. two shots isn't a bad idea. trying to stay less than 220 degrees helps with the lighting. nontheless it's fun trying to do really big shots. Looking forward to seeing your future results
Thanks for posting. These are really great. What Jamie was too polite to say (never my problem) is that he is giving a fantastic presentation on pano work next week. Here is a link to the picture he took last year at the gathering and Jamie's home page. Thought you might enjoy.
Mouthy John Powers
If I could be at Jamie's presentation, I would be. But I have prior committments - though they are good committments.
I'm going to make it a point to try to meet up with Jamie sooner or later, though. He's been helpful to me with tips and encouragement, and I look forward to it.