5 Frames with the Spinner 360°

By Bob Janes

I’ve had a thing about panoramas for some time and have experimented with rotation points and stitching software quite a bit over the years. Analogue panoramas are something else though. Posh schools seemed to do whole school photographs using panoramic cameras with rotating heads. None of my schools had enough space for the whole school to sit together, or teachers who were brave enough to try to herd us all together. I’m also aware of the Hasselblad XPan, the Widelux and the Russian Horizon cameras, but they are quite pricy (and I’m quite cheap).

Cue the Spinner 360° – a genuinely bonkers panoramic camera that always leaves you wondering “How is that going to turn out”. If you’re interested, I reviewed this camera a few weeks ago. You can read that review here.

So I present to you a selection of 5 Spinner shots. The film is Rollei SuperPan 200, which was processed for ISO 320 in R09 with agitation development. Apologies for the number of times I appear in frame. It can be difficult to get out of the way.

Location 1 – Abbey Wood

‘Look nonchalant’… Knowing I’d be in frame I had an idea. I decided to look one way at one end of the frame and in the other at the other end. Completely misjudged where the start of the shot would be…

Taken at the ruins of Lesness Abbey. The abbey was founded in 1178 by Richard deLucy as penance for his part in the murder of Thomas Becket. The Abbey didn’t quite make it to the dissolution of the monasteries – being closed down about 10 years earlier. The ruins were excavated and listed in Edwardian times.

Location 2 – Erith

Getting into deep water – I make 1.5 appearances in this shot, but my whole shadow is there twice…

This shot is taken at Erith deepwater pier. The little building is a signal box complete with buffers that sits at the end of the pier. The rails are long gone, but the rest survives. The late great Linda Smith once described Erith as ‘Not being twinned with anywhere, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham…’ She got into trouble for that with the local council.

Location 3.1 – Greenwich riverside

‘I’m sure this isn’t how Christopher Wren envisaged it…’ You can get some interesting wavy effects with the spinner at an angle. I managed to stay out of the shot by holding the spinner above my head and standing out of sunlight.

This is one of the courtyards at the Old Royal Naval College. Designed and built by Christopher Wren, it was off limits until relatively recently as it was a live Naval training institution. It even had its own submarine-sized nuclear reactor. Now part of the University of Greenwich, it is open to the public (and much less radioactive).

Location 3.2 – Greenwich park (other side of the main road)

Taken in the middle of the road. Didn’t quite manage to keep the top of my hat out of the picture over on the right.

This is part of the colonnade that connects the Queen’s house (designed by Inigo Jones) and the Maritime Museum. The main road from Dover to London used to run along here and through that arch. The idea was to allow Queen Henrietta Maria (Mrs Charles I) to access the river and the park. At some point people realized that having a royal residence with a main road running through the middle of it was not such a good idea. The road is now 100 yards to the North.

Overlooked by Royalty. This is the atrium at the centre of the Queen’s house. I had planned to take a picture inside, but it turns out it was closed until March 2023.

Thanks for looking, shooting these was fun, even if I didn’t really know what I’d got until the film came out of the soup.

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About The Author

By Bob Janes
Retired IT guy. Volunteer stem-cell courier. Interested in education, photography and local history. Lives in Greenwich, SE London, UK.
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Eric on 5 Frames with the Spinner 360°

Comment posted: 24/04/2023

Very cool. Thank you for sharing.

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Simon Cygielski on 5 Frames with the Spinner 360°

Comment posted: 24/04/2023

Nice. I think I'll have to spring for one. I see they made motors for them, though they don't seem to be available any more (for the time being?)

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