Panoramic Photography by Michael Ragsdale

A perspective closer to "The Way We See Life"!

Panoramic Photography is a newly revisited form of photography which is older than all of us.  Photographers, using special cameras and film, began taking panoramic photos in the 1850's with this technique reaching its greatest popularity in the early 1900's.  Early panoramas present towns, cities, universities, national parks, sporting events, disasters, modes of transportation, celebrations, the military, businesses, and people on the land as we actually looked so many years ago.  

I first started creating panoramic images in my early twenties using conventional cameras and then pasting images together with scotch tape.  Later I purchased old panoramic cameras and started producing full width images on film.  The panoramic photo history is much longer than you might expect.  We are just finding or inventing new ways to capture and display the panoramic perspective.

In my early years in photography all my panoramic images were shot on film.  Within the last few years I have moved completely to digital technology.  Digital cameras that rival film are now available. 

Several camera manufactures provide software to stitch images together to create panoramic photos.  Those available in today's market mostly do not provide the resolution required to rival panoramic images created from source film frames.  So, I have kept myself challenged by working with others or creating new products to produce the highest resolution images I can.  This has often meant creating custom solutions to allow working with much larger files and source images in the stitching process.  After stitching multiple images together hours of editing sometimes are necessary to fix what the automation tools can't figure out.  I enjoy shooting a scene from the same exact spot an early panoramic photographer took a shot to show the contrast of "then and now".  True to the scene another panoramic page in history is created.

I do enjoy the challenge as capturing each image has it's own set of problems.  In the end, an image that evokes emotion in a viewer is my payment for the work I do.  We see the world from a panoramic perspective yet the largest part of photography we see today is from a narrow point of view.  When you look at the computer screen while you read these words, you are aware of the room around you on both sides of the screen.  It is this awareness that a panoramic perspective gives us.

Thank you for viewing my work.  There will always be something new here to see, That is what I do...

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