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The panoramas emerge
Apart from their well documented house front, store front and goldfield photography, Merlin and Bayliss they were also known for their landscape panoramas.
To capture these 180° views a number of glass plate photographs (usually three or four) had to be taken in succession and the prints trimmed and overlapped to form the illusion of one long, uninterrupted landscape view.
Although most of the panoramas were taken using mammoth plates so that they could be printed in a large exhibition size, we can also find some examples of these panoramas in the smaller quarter plate negatives.
We recently digitised the below four quarter plates and - using digital photo-stitching technology - were able to recreate the full panorama of Gulgong NSW taken from Church Hill in the 1870s.
Below we have an example of what the panorama would have looked like using the traditional print layering method of panorama construction - note that the joins are clearly visible and the areas of vignetting around the edges interrupt the flow of the landscape.
And here is our newly constructed panorama created using the digital intelligence of Photoshop CS4's Photomerge facility along with some manual retouching, dodging and burning - the result is far smoother and gives a clear impression of the view from Church Hill over 100 years ago.
Please take the time to view an enlarged version of the above panorama - it is well worth it!
This digitised panorama has the ability to be enlarged as a high quality photographic print - with no loss of image quality - to five metres in length. With such exciting results from negatives measuring only 3.25x4.25 inches [83x108mm] we look forward with great anticipation to seeing results from the mammoth plate panoramas, ranging in size from 10x12 inches [25x30cm] to 1.6x0.9 metres.