My daughter recently brought my old KMZ Horizont panoramic camera out of storage, so I decided to give it a whirl. While it’s meant mainly for stately panoramas, I’ve always enjoyed making it do things it wasn’t designed for – verticals, diagonals, things that really show off its cylindrical projection to best effect. This outing was no no different – I generally ignored the handy bubble level, trying to see how well the rather loosey-goosey viewfinder can be used to frame compositions. While I have been salivating over Hasselblad’s fabulous X-Pan since I first saw Horst Harmann’s Vertical New York, if I ever got one I’d end up with a project more along the lines of Diagonal Chicago or Chicago Slightly Askew. Anyway, since I’m not made of cash, I’ll have to make do with what I have here.
Two ways of seeing
I seem to have two modes to my photography. One is very tightly framed minimalistic compositions, very consciously playing the edges of the frame against image elements. The second, in a reaction against this innate tendency to overthink, I do very intuitively shot “street” work, often using in-camera multiple exposures to compound the chaos in the frame. Close to hip shots but still composed with my mind’s eye, these are a bit of a chore to edit, as near misses and outright failures outnumber decent images by a large margin. Oh, yes – did I mention I’m fascinated with trees? Their sheer size and complex form always invite exploration, especially in a strong aspect ratio frame like the Horizont’s.
I think the Horizont lands somewhere in the middle between tight and completely freewheeling. Its viewfinder approximates the frame but doesn’t really define it in a way that would make it easy to over-analyze the edge relationships. Overall, I don’t dislike what I got here, even if I don’t particularly love it, but I think it’s something I can build on. See my Instagram to check how that’s going.
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