This Panoramic Photo was Shot with Multi-Plate, Multi-Lens Daguerreotype

If you’re looking for novel and challenging ways to create your next panoramic photo, the “antorama” will certainly be of interest to you.

Today’s technology has given us many ways to create panoramic photos, but we bet that all of you are yet to try shooting with this technique. San Diego-based Anton Orlov has been busy experimenting with some daguerreotype techniques, but there’s one project that he was able to do successfully. He recently shared with us the results of an interesting panoramic photography method that he developed himself: the “Antorama.”

“I don’t believe this method of making a panoramic image has ever been utilized before,” he mused on his blog post, so of course, he thought of naming it after himself. The Antorama, he described, “uses variable focal lengths to achieve shortening or lengthening in appearance of a scene within multiple frames of a view, in order to bring distant objects closer or to be able to see more of those near the camera.”

Anton’s unique panoramic technique is certainly not for the challenge-averse. It involves seven 4×5 daguerreotype plates and four lenses with the following focal lengths (from left to right): 120mm, 150mm, 180mm, 210mm, 180mm, 150mm, and 120mm. The main challenge (or drawback) of the UV-sensitive daguerreotype, as we can see in the result and noted by Anton, lies in the different lens coatings used by various companies through the decades. Because of the coatings, the lenses produce different exposures even if they are set to the same f-value. He also said that the thickness of the glass and the number of elements that light has to pass through could be other factors.

“I suppose that having a full set of same type of lenses would help here, but I had to work with what I had, so it took me a few experimental plates (shown below) to match exposures of Schneider 150 Xenotar, Rodenstock Sironar 180, and Fujinon-W 210,” he said on the shooting process. “However, after the first go at above view, I understood that 5 plates weren’t going to be enough, as the composition ended rather anticlimactically on both ends. I then decided to add a frame with 120mm Schneider 120-XL on both sides, which showed parts of the promenade walkways and made it into an approximately 220°view.”

Anton also notes that if you want to try shooting with the Antorama, you don’t have to use the daguerreotype format. But of course, the challenges of working with the traditional photographic process would certainly be fun for the brave and curious. If you were impressed with this panoramic project, you might also be wowed by another first by Anton: a handheld wet collodion selfie! Don’t forget to check out the Photo Palace Bus for more of Anton Orlov’s traditional photography experiments!


Photos by Anton Orlov. Used with permission and pitched to The Phoblographer.