Panoramic Photographs

Shooting a Panoramic Photograph

Printing a Panoramic Photograph

Download the MPEG (16.5 MB) or Quicktime (10 MB) Video of this Presentation*

Photo technician taping a negative to the printing easel  Photo technician placing waxed paper over negative
The first step in printing the panoramic photograph is to secure the negative to the printer with tape. This can be done under normal lighting. The technician then places wax paper between the light source and the negative, to diffuse the light during exposure.

Photo technician placing photographic paper on a negative  Setting a timer  Photo technician watches as print is exposed
All actual printing and developing is done under a safe-light. After placing the paper on top of the negative, the technician sets the timer that controls the printer. Closing the printer presses the paper against the negative and triggers a timed burst of light that exposes the picture.

Photo technician loads exposed print into a processor  Close up of print going into processor
The exposed paper is loaded into a processor that, after about one minute, automatically develops, fixes, and dries the finished print.

Photo technician inspecting a print  Close up of photo technician marking a print
This first print serves as a proof print. The technician inspects it for areas that need special attention during the printing process. Using a grease pencil, the technician marks areas of the proof print for "dodging," which reduces the amount of light on specific areas of the print. Each type of mark indicates a different type of dodging that will occur later. Typically, individual faces need dodging.

Close up of negative under red safe light  Photo technician layering waxed paper over negative
The technician applies ordinary lipstick to the glass beneath the faces he marked on the proof print, to reduce the amount of light during exposure. Additional wax paper is also added to reduce the light in broad areas of the photograph.

Photo technician exposing print  Photo technician removing print from printing easel
The paper is then exposed and developed as before, to produce the final print.

*This video was shot on December 19, 1992, in front of the U.S. Capitol. It documents the staff of the Central Photo Company shooting a group portrait with a Cirkut camera, and the subsequent development and printing of the resulting negative. The group assembled for the portrait consists of Library of Congress staff members, mostly from the American Memory pilot program and the Prints and Photographs Division.

The video was produced by Bucky Wall of Buckaroo Associates, and could not have been made without the generous cooperation of James and Rochelle Ivey of Washington Central Photo Company.

The scenes in the photographic laboratory were restaged for the video camera. Film development, which must be carried out in complete darkness, was simulated for the camera using a piece of clear film and, during the video editing process, the scene was reduced to black and white in order to simulate darkness. The footage of exposing the photographic paper in the contact printer was also manipulated in order to simulate the reddish tones of the safelight.