Widescreen

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There’s something about widescreen images that’s fascinated me from the first time I same an early Cinerama movie at my local fleapit. The cinema lacked the right projection equipment so the  film appeared as a wide but rather low “letterbox” on a normal 4:3 screen. This denied me the full experience of widescreen but presented the image in a quite different way to usual. Most interesting was the impact the format had upon the presentation and perception of landscapes. Suddenly, I could see things on screen as my eyes saw them in the “real” world.

It was only when I started to experiment with cropped widescreen images that I realised that our eyes (or, more correctly, our entire visual perception) is capable of acting as a zoom lens to some extent. We can look at a full-size panorama or we can concentrate on just a part of it and mentally “zoom in” so that it occupies the whole width of our visual concentration. Once I had available to me cameras and lenses of sufficient quality and the appropriate hardware and software, I couldn’t resist experimenting and here are some of the results.

The thing that still excites me is how our perception of a landscape changes when it’s presented in this format – somehow it seems far more natural and less bound by the photgrapher’s artifice notwithstanding the fact that these images are the direct result of said artifice. Sometimes we seem to need technology to make things seem more natural: what a strange paradox!

These images are of two types: panoramas made by stitching together overlapping images or crops of  images that have been made to a widescreen (16:9) or panorama (20:7.5) ratio. In the former, I’ve used a Manfrotto pan head and one of three software assembly procedures. These are Autodesk Stitcher, Hugin and Photoshop CS3.

Click here to see a slideshow of favourite images.