Shooting Wide- Really Wide / by craig levers

Why Shoot Wide

A 20 year preoccupation with the whole picture 

I guess I'm known for my surf photography, and maybe as a reaction to close cropped telephoto action shots I've developed a love for panoramic and landscape photography in general. 

The idea of showing the whole playground and then zoom on in to the action just seems to me the right way to tell a story. I bought my first Panoramic camera in the '90's. I wish I had never traded it in. It was a classic 1970's Widelux that used 35mm film and made a photo to the tried and true 1:3 ratio. The 1:3 ratio is very close to our peripheral view, and that's why panoramic images seem so visually appealing.  

I had a shocker ever letting this lil beastie go. 

When I shot for the book Beached As Vol 1, the need for a camera that could show the whole scene in one frame hit home hard. I've been lead down a merry trail with many kinks and turns since. I shot most of Beached As Vol 2 on this...

And lesson learnt- never ever trade in a camera- keep em all! 

The PTB 617 has been an amazing producer of images, it's the camera that most of my award winning images have been made with like this one below. 

In the ongoing quest to improve my panoramas I went deeply into digital stitching, and it is a really great way of getting panos, no doubt. Here's a digital pano that also won an international award and it has been a super popular seller. 

But I got really frustrated with the limitations of digital stitching, I still will do them, but not as often. The thrill and discipline of getting it right in one frame of film really excites me. It feels more like you are crafting and yielding an image at the time of capture... that said it's harder! 

Here's the latest addition to the family; 

I'd like to say it has been a seamless transition, but the Fotoman 617 is deceptively easy to muck up a frame on. I am getting keepers now,  this is one of my new favourites off it;

This Manu Bay pano also demonstrates another reason film has it over digital- even though I've used a slow shutter to blur the waves, it is next to impossible to digitally stitch a scene like this with waves moving through it. 

So why all this talk of panos, well it's Panoramic comp season again, and my week has been consumed with pouring over which images to submit. This year I've gone for 5  panos that were all shot on film [you probably guessed it after that filmic rant].