The Photographic Historical Society of Canada

Panorama Stereo - with a pair of Hasselblad XPan Cameras
Paul Pasquarello
Program date: October 20, 2010


Paul Pasquarello by Wayne GilbertPaul Pasquarello is Supervisor, Photographic Operations in Corporate Services at the New York Power Authority. He majored in art at college. Before graduating, Paul took a summer job as photo journalist with the Courier Express, Buffalo's morning newspaper and stayed with them for nineteen years until the paper folded in 1982. While most photojournalists favoured baseball bat size long focus lenses, Paul liked to use wide-angle & fish-eye lenses. Early on, he dabbled in stereo using a 35mm camera and a slider bar on a tripod.

When Paul visited us back in June, 2008 he presented an awesome Cinemascope proportioned stereo show using electronically coupled, computer controlled Ektagraphic projectors. His slides were shot and projected with the unique anamorphic lenses of the late 1950s wide screen process.

Tonight Paul presented a number of stereo panorama slides. The slides were taken with a pair of Hasselblad XPan cameras mounted on a Z-bar. The XPans use ordinary 35mm film and can be set to snap a full frame or a panorama. The panorama setting records across two adjacent 35mm frames making a 24 mm x 65 mm image. To project the panorama slides, the double frame strips are mounted in special 6x7 slide mounts. Paul used two Pro-Cabin 67-Z projectors equipped with polarizing filters to project the left and right view slides. Paul brought his own pair of special screens "buttoned" together to make the extra width needed to display the panoramic views. While most of the views were in normal stereo, a few were in hype-stereo - accomplished by separating the cameras a bit on the Z-bar.

Unlike the 2008 automated show, tonight each slide was inserted in the slide changer during the show and then pulled into view. Paul used a strictly "Home Depot" solution to align and operate his left and right projectors. Each projector was attached to a small quarter-inch plywood base and positioned close to the ideal distance apart. A simple hardware store butt hinge joined the two slide holders. With the hinge pin removed, the holders were slipped into their sockets, and the two projectors spaced so the hinge pin could be inserted again.

flashman - Wayne and Clint shoot the audience Paul Pasquarello with two Xpan cameras Hasselblad Xpans on Z-bar Paul Pasquarello with two Nikon D90s Nikon D90s on X-bar Dual screens - front
Dual screens - rear Pro-Cabin 67-Z projectors Pro-Cabin 67-Z projectors left and right slides 6x7 slide with an Xpan insert Sony NEX-5 with 3D Polaroid lens attatched

Paul loaded a slide in each projector, carefully aligned the two images vertically, and then adjusted the "toe-in" to place the left and right view images in register on the screen. To verify the stereo image was in register and viewable without eye strain, he "borrowed" a bystander with good stereo vision and handed him a pair of Polaroid glasses. Woodworking quick-clamps locked the two projectors in place on the projection table. Two trays of slides were carefully placed for easy access and a pair of boxes next to them received the previous set of slides. With care Paul was able to load and unload the slides without disturbing their order or flipping the left and right slides.

In his introduction, Paul showed three ways to mount two cameras to bring the lenses to the ideal spacing for normal stereo. His XPans were mounted on a sturdy z-bar staggering the cameras to tuck one behind the other which allowed the wide angle lenses to be closer together. A pair of Nikon D90s were mounted on a different Z-bar, this time with one camera placed upside down, taking advantage of the extreme lens offset on DSLR bodies. Reaching in his pocket, he produced a third approach. It was a Fuji FinePix Real 3D W3 camera. Fuji mounted two 10 megapixel digital systems in one camera body with the two lenses separated by the idea 77mm spacing. The images can even be viewed in 3D on the camera's viewing screen thanks to a lenticular lens design that keeps the left and right views visible only to the desired eye.

Paul chose a variety of subjects and scenes with close and far objects best suited to show off the impact of stereo. His wonderful eye for colour and form brought us a most enjoyable evening of panoramic slides as shown in the examples below (regretfully only in 2D). To capture these images from the screen, I fixed the right lens of a pair of stereo glasses over my NEX-5 camera's lens. Click on each thumbnail to see a larger version in a pop-up window.

gates - Buffalo Historical Society Campground near Sardinia NY Japanese Garden Buffalo NY
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society
Woods
Portland Head Light, Maine
Fort Gorges, Maine
Paris nuit
Statue of M. Eiffel
Seine France
Harbour at St Tropez France
Canal in Venice Italy
Tourist Cruise Ship
Room with a view
Waiting for the bus

In an historical side note, Paul commented on the rapid inroads of digital into the stereo world. As late as three or four years ago, a visitor to the National Stereo Association (NSA) symposium would see a wall of projectors of all makes and sizes along the back of the room. This summer at the symposium there wasn't a slide projector in sight. Instead, there were two tiny cigar box size digital high definition projectors sitting on a card table at the front of the room. Each presenter had his show recorded in digital format. With standards not yet in place, the variety of file formats led to a flurry of action from time to time.

Paul admitted to his preference for film. His moment of conversion came about 10 years ago. One of his photographers took a benchmark print, scanned it and after about 30 minutes on the computer, she printed it on the department's 44 inch Epson. There was no comparison - the digital print was a good five times better. (The benchmark print was from a Linhof camera negative. Paul estimated that it took all morning in the darkroom dodging and burning on a half dozen trial prints before the best results were in hand.) since then his department has switched to all electronic, using 35mm-size Nikon D2 and D3 cameras and one medium format digital. He commented on the fate of many professional quality film cameras to end up as doorstops, and a few collector items. Even with film, digital has caused changes. A new Kodak negative film is intended to be scanned, not printed in the wet darkroom. The film can be taken to drug store service, processed, and put on DVD. Negative film is much better than transparencies for scanning. In fact, the average store today has dropped E6 slide film - only two stores are left downtown in Buffalo that can process Ektachrome slides.

Wrapping up the evening, president Clint Hryhorijiw invited Paul to come back again, hopefully to show us his efforts in digital wide stereo.


Simon Bell (left) and Tom BochslerIndustrial photographer Tom Bochsler joined us tonight bringing some copies of his new book "The Art of Industry - 50 Years of Photography" which he was planning back in 2006 when he was our March speaker. Tom is well known for his beautiful, artistic photographs of the people and mechanical/electronic components of our industry, The chronological organization of the book provides a pictorial and verbal history of our working environment from the 1950s to the early 2000s. Contact Tom or your favourite book store for a copy of his book. Tom is shown here signing a copy of his book for author and stereo photographer Simon Bell who is a two time speaker at the PHSC (back in September 1997 and October 2002).


This page was designed in Dreamweaver CS5 on an imac running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Unless otherwise noted, images on this page were taken with a Sony NEX-5 digital still camera and subsequently adjusted in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V3.2 and Photoshop CS5. Presentation images are ©2010 by Paul Pasquarello and may not be used with out his permission. Contents and all other images are ©2010 by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada and may be used freely provided the source is clearly indicated. Copies of photographs displayed during this presentation may not be used without the copyright holder's permission. Contact PHSC at info@phsc.ca if you would like more information on the items discussed on this page.

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