The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Experiments 1

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Inspirado strikes in funny ways. To wit, Our Lady of the pentacle returned from one of her periodic expeditions to area thrift and secondhand stores with a used Viewmaster and several of the little travelogue reels which typified the gadget (The Petrified Forest, or Alcatraz, or Grand Canyon- there were thousands of these things, and it was a very popular diversion in the pre digital days).

For those of you born into the digital age, a viewmaster was a “toy” featuring a binocular sighting gizmo that focuses in on a tiny transparency contained on a ratcheted disc which is rotated into position via a lever. The whole device is held in front of an illuminated light source, and whatever the presented image is appears in the sights.

The Viewmaster people perfected the trick of a certain dimensionality, not true 3d of course, but the sort of analog stereoscopic illusion which you might be familiar with because of Disney animation with it’s multi plane camera work. This effect is something I had forgotten about, wherein comes the “inspirado”. There’s got to be a way to suggest that dimensionality, the “jump” as it were, in photoshop.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not quite as simple as “tilt-shifting“, the effect I’m trying to get (which I haven’t yet achieved, although these 2 images are fairly close) involves stacking the various layers of background with certain alterations to density and saturation. That “pop” isn’t quite there yet, which might represent a shortcoming in the actual photograph of course, but it’s fairly close.

Of course, there are those who do actual stereographs- YTF from the Newtown Pentacle group at Flickr has mastered the technique for instance- but I’m trying to achieve it in a single image.

Experiment, fail, theorize, experiment, fail- it’s all empirical- I’ll keep y’all posted…

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm

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