HVAC Triptych

2013-HF-02 (23)

This triptych is shot with film on my half-frame Olympus Pen. The frames are shot to be viewed together, and are scanned from the negatives as a single image. It is a new direction for my photography, and thus a great way to start the new year. Have a good one everybody.

The results on this second roll of film are mixed. Mostly because I was not doing a good job guessing exposures. And because I have to learn more about lining up the photos in a pleasing way, and how much overlap I am going to get. In fact, I should probably do some tests in that regard because I think that I am getting more on the negative than I see within the frame printed on the view finder.

Anyway, I like the idea of these kinds of panoramas as single images, and there are others on the roll of film that I am pleased with, which you will be seeing in the next week or two, I expect.


Olympus Pen, half-frame camera, ca 1961. Ilford Pan F Plus, ISO50, Probably shot at 1/50th and f8 or f11.


16 thoughts on “HVAC Triptych

  1. Pingback: Caged Stairs | burnt embers

  2. Pingback: Half-frame Buildings | burnt embers

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    • Thanks Lisa! It is funny how a bit of hardware can send one off on a new path. This is all about half-frame negatives presenting slightly different opportunities than full frame ones.


    • Hi Val, that is a good question. I would start asking the question further back in the process – “why not just shoot them with my DSLR which would give me a lot more room for manipulating the images, has better lenses, less grain and lots of other advantages?”

      What I like about shooting a bit of film is that it really makes me slow down and look carefully at what I am doing, set things up more carefully and generally is a more thoughtful process for me. I think (and hope) that I will think more when I have the DSLR in my hands.

      As to your question. There are technical reasons such as I don’t actually have good panorama stitching software, or if I do in one of my programs, I don’t know how to use it. I would need to take a lot more photos to get the same coverage as this since stitching panoramas together needs lots of overlaps, and crops off the top and bottom as well. But the urge to try this is more to do with conceiving a photo in multiple parts, where the shot taken is visualised as fitting with the adjacent shots somehow, and which is not manipulated into a single photo by various hidden means. I don’t have the words to really explain it more than that – it is a creative process that stretches and exercises how I see things. What I am stitching together this way does not have to be a panorama, or even related in any way other than via some obscure pathways in my head – there is the opportunity for interesting portraits (portraits to come soon, interesting or not), for visual puns, for jarring juxtapositions that make viewers think (which means I have to think really hard when setting up that kind of shot, ouch) and other combinations that might be interesting and which are planned and executed in advance of seeing and holding the result.

      Not that this necessarily makes any sense out of doing it with film instead of with digital images. Bottom line, it is more fun this way, more interesting, with more nervous anticipation, and occasionally a bit of excitement when something comes close to working out.


  4. Excellent triptych. You are probably getting about 90-95% in the viewfinder. That’s why you get more on the negs. This is typical of most camera but it’s less noticable when you’re not trying to line thins up in multiple exposures. Given all that, I think this works really well.


    • Hi Ken. I remember that from my Spotmatic days – I think it was 95%. In the Pen I can see a great deal more, but it has a frame marked within the viewfinder that I thought might be quite an accurate representation of what is going to end up on the film. However, it has two sets of markings as well, and I have been using the inner ones. It should be pretty easy to work out, but I might need to take a couple of shots of something that I can easily make notes on (and wait a few weeks till I have finished the roll).
      In most of the ones I shot, I was going for some overlap anyway, but there are quite a few that would work better without. I think this one works well with overlaps. This spot usually is full of cars, but I had to come in to my old office on a Sunday morning, and the parking lot was empty – something I had not seen before. The structures on the outside of View Towers were quite compelling and I took other shots of them as well. (http://wp.me/p1R4lY-12u is an earlier post of this building, from the other side).


      • While reading your answer to Val I remember that I made diptych and triptychs with Photoshop Elements when that was my primary editor. It was selling for under $50 (US) before Christmas. It allows layers and also “canvas editing”. You can make a canvas area and bring in each photo of the triptych on separate layers, space or resize as needed and save the whole thing as one big file or flatten it to a jpg. It’s a very flexible and easy process. It also allows extra layers for text, which I have done as well. There may be some less expensive programs besides Elements that will allow you to do the same thing. I don’t get paid to endorse Adobe products (shame).


      • Thanks for the info Ken. As it happens (which is why I phrased my answer to Val the way that I did) I have PSE-9 – it was bundled with my scanner. I think I have launched it once. Learning new software makes me weary and so it takes me time to get there.

        Good to know that it will stitch panoramas because sometimes that is something I want to do and the stitching software that came with my DSLR is rudimentary and often not very effective.

        I think you have recommended it to me before as a product when combined with LR serves almost all photoediting needs, and that is one of the reasons I chose the scanner that I did as it came with the software. Now, I just need to use it. And possibly to upgrade it to the latest version before Adobe puts Elements on the cloud as well and charges a monthly fee to use it.


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