Taking a Panoramic Photograph

1906 Ballon Panorama of SF Fire damage

Several years ago, I had a researcher bring in a panorama photograph. These photos are familiar to me, commonly used to take photos of large groups of people, but this researcher asked more than "what is this". He asked me, "how was it made". With a bit of hunting I found the Library of Congress's 1992 reenactment of taking a panoramic photos. They used a Cirkut camera, c. 1890.

A bit of history: Following the invention of flexible film in 1888, panoramic photography was revolutionized. Dozens of cameras were marketed, many with brand names heavily indicative of their time. Cameras such as the Cylindrograph, Wonder Panoramic, Pantascopic and Cyclo-Pan, are some examples of panoramic cameras.

As listed on the Library of Congress page: "When shooting a picture, the Cirkut panoramic camera moves in an arc from left to right. The people in the front row are arranged along a corresponding arc, so that in the finished photograph they will seem to be standing in a straight line."

Here is a link to a video of that 1992 reenactment. Its not short - but if you have ever wondered how a panoramic photo was made, this is worth your time. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/pan/shooting.html