Panorama of Urbana

Since upgrading to an iPhone 4S after my iPhone 4 had been drowned in the bath too many times and the screen corroded from photographic chemicals I found the panoramic mode in the camera app.

We don’t particularly have any screaming vistas like the Grand Canyon in Edinburgh, maybe the castle, but I wasn’t planning on making those kind of photos anyway but try to experiment with such a long wide frame.

What fun I’ve had so far!

First run
I actually started with a panoramic on my way to work when I found the panoramic option by accident. I forgot the 4S had this option with the iOS 6 (or so) upgrade.

It was interesting but I hadn’t yet seen the potential for interesting compositions.

I liked this one purely for the lump of wall on the left, the yellow grit bin in the middle and the traffic lights far right. One thing I did notice was the potential of having the same person in the photo multiple times; the cyclist far right is also in the frame far left.

This photo was more traditional with the road near centre.

I liked the sky that morning but I failed to read the instructions on how you’re supposed to ‘handle’ the phone when capturing. I was swinging my hand up and down when I could easily just tilt the camera in my hand.

I believe these were the frames that made me realise I could do something interesting with this mode. I also saw its limitations especially when motion was involved, you can see a digital jitter on the seat(s) far right of the frames above and on the left in the image below.


Things Get Silly
Why should a panoramic photo be landscape?

Well, it’s strange but I can see something interesting coming out of this orientation so I’ll probably be exploring it more.

This is an example of my continued fascination with compartmentalised frames within photos and a self portrait in the process (and a heavy nasty cold).

Some experiments don’t go so well but I believe they are worth including to ‘show my work’.

Edinburgh At Night
This next series of images shows how movement can make something simple become a little abstract.

Movement plays havoc with the app and I love it, you get an interesting digital jitter which looks both horrible and appealing at the same time. Definitely more of this to come.

Here are a few more ‘normal’ examples.


Next Up
After playing with this mode I started thinking about replicating this long bendy image format in a real camera so I tweeted out to the BelieveInFilm community for a few suggestions.

After a re-tweet by @FilmDevelop I got many replies with suggestions, all pretty excellent, but with money as a factor as I’d spent a lot of money recently with the homemade 16×20 camera plus 2 large lenses.

I’d love to but couldn’t possibly afford a Hasselblad XPan right now and the Russian Horizon or Widelux cameras have both gathered significant financial ‘dust’ and are now in the £200-£300 region.

The other option was the sprocket rocket but after having a flick through this post by Egor sent to me by @mondostic I realised I was looking for a swing lens camera so I am now left with the Lomo 360 Spinner.

Before I go blasting cash on a Lomo 360 Spinner (it’s my birthday soon so maybe) I did have one other idea – MAKE ONE! I’ve absolutely NO IDEA how but I plan to give it a try, the format will probably be 35mm.

I’ll end with anther thank you to the BelieveInFilm guys and gals on ‘the twitter’.


3 thoughts on “Panorama of Urbana

  1. Funny, but I didn’t even realize my iphone had this feature until I read your post. I’ve wanted a good panoramic camera since a college photography teacher twenty+ years ago showed me his Widelux, and work he’d shot with it. What a cool camera. Here’s some nice landscape work by a guy here in Minnesota — looks like he’s shooting a Linhoff. Imagine those big 120 negatives: After watching this I immediately checked ebay of course, to see how much these cameras cost, and was disappointed to see them selling for around $3,000. I guess I’ll try my iphone panorama mode or stick to stitching panos in photoshop.


    1. I just started reading it and so far it’s what I’d expect; a trashy plastic camera that can make interesting images. I’ll probably still get one from somewhere hopefully not for £80, that’d be ridiculous! I’d only be going for the spinner purely out of cost since most widelux or Horizon’s I’ve seen are all between £200/£300.


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