Tom's Story: Panoramics and Tetons Home
I started thinking about, I wanted to catch the whole landscape, the big landscape. And I'd always been using wide angle lenses like most people do, I think and it has always threw the landscape back, you should know when everything becomes smaller, it's no longer the normal perspective as we see about a 50 millimeter. So a friend of mine had a panoramic camera 617 Fuji camera that he was showing me for his studio work. And I thought, I wonder if I could use that in the field to shoot wildlife and actually shoot wildlife and the landscape. So this is a three to one ratio, the size of its roll film and the image is about the size of $1 bill about that. So it's a big piece of film. So you can make huge prints if you get it right. But the camera it's a view camera, so you're looking through a viewfinder and not the lens. So you have to guesstimate what the distances or use view distance finder like a golf ball finder and you have to use a handheld meter to read the meter. And then you ha...
ve to figure out the depth of field at different F-stops to see what is in focus. So its very complicated. And the film was 50 ISO or 100 ISO. The first film was slide film that made negative but I hardly ever used it. But it allowed me to get what I saw. You know what I saw as a panoramic image and that changed the way I started viewing wildlife in landscape and where I became fascinated with it and that became my favorite camera for many years. That bull symbol is this one had 19 cows. And there was one little bull that was always trying to horn in on his cow so he was very busy chasing the little bull. He would dig a wallow then urinate in the wallow. And then they get into it and they roll around and smell very nice to the females apparently. And they breed the females and the little bull would get in there and try to do the same thing and he'd chase him off. And he was always tired. We followed him for a week. He was the largest bull known in Denali that year. Now of course, Denali is huge, who knows it probably had other bigger bulls somewhere. But he was lying in this dwarf birch, which has turned bright red in the fall and had rain. It was raining all day. And he was lying down there. And I had. I had an assistant and a buddy of mine who was working on a film for ABC and his assistant and another guy who was with me. And at about four o'clock in the afternoon, they were done with it. They had enough rain, they were wet, they were cold, they started leaving. So the three left, my friend Chip who was hardcore like me and didn't mind getting wet and cold wanted the shot stayed on And said, "let's just stay on a while longer." And I looked to the west and I saw this little sliver of cloud clear below the clouds on the far horizon, I said, "Chip, if we stay for another 45 minutes "or so I think that sun might peak out." And knowing Moose, like we know Moose of the time, they feed at sunset, they feed about every two hours, two three hours they sleep feed, sleep feed but in the evening. So I sat on this frame and I shot pictures of him lying down just hidden, and which weren't bad. But it was like kind of a body less Moose in the brush. So I framed this tree and I shot this on negative phone Which is high speed and again in those days 800 ISO, I needed this relatively in focus, these in focus, that in focus of course, him in focus. But that gave me an F stop of F lots of depth of field, but had this frame for more than two hours. And we sat there and bright as the sun came through that little sliver of clouds or clearness on the horizon, and at sunset, the cows started moving off, he started watching them and not wanting to lose his hard 119 girlfriends. He stood up And we could have, you know, some people I know would move him, you know, they would get closer and closer and closer until he would get up. You know, we're just not into that. Its like we let him do his thing. You know, he's sleeping, he's resting and you know, you play the game like it should be played. And so we just let him be, but it was that serendipity moment, maybe a little bit of karma. After being that nice after all those days, he stood upright when his cows went off and when the sun came out, and then it was this little snow squall on the mountain that just set it off. He was breathing, and that one second two seconds, of course, he's breathing, but at two seconds, his breathing, you could see our short four frames, At two seconds, it was blurry. One second it was okay. So it's one second exposure, or one half second I'm not positive. I like four different frames. He looked, and in about eight seconds, he stood there then he moved off that was in the end of that but became my maybe my most famous favorite panoramic one. Of course they didn't, I tried the panoramic on things like salmon really wasn't made for but it was kinda fun. Of course some families have Because there's feeding on blueberries and the tundra. I took it to Peru with me to photograph green, red macaws on a clay lick. Really difficult there with dark jungle. And these macaws come in there to clay to neutralize the tuxes the have seeds from the fruity they eat and stuff but in their very sharp birds, we built big blinds and spend about three weeks here photographing macaws. Big fields of flowers in Northern California to hatch B. And then I. Basically the Fuji camera, they quit selling it, they quit making it. And then they stop selling 220 film which is eight frames and the rolls. 124 frames eight is really minimum. So I switched to making digital stitch panoramic, that's what I do today. I rarely shoot the 617 anymore and just for a lot of complications and this is a like a 19 or 20 frame, vertically stitched image as is this one too now it has a lot more obviously light capabilities and much, much lower light, much lighter light. And this is about a 24 frame in Africa in Amboseli last year again stitched.