From the Top Down

By: Gustav Hoiland

Jan 30 2010

Category: ocean travel


Focal Length:18mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Vertical Panoramas

What happens when you can’t see the entirety of an image at one time?  Does the photograph become more of an experience, directed by the viewer?  It may as well be a movie clip – scrolling down in your browser window is like hitting play, while scrolling back up is just going in reverse. This presentation of the work somehow compromises traditional composition – the eye doesn’t jump to the image’s unquestionable focal point, but rather jumps around between points of interest as you pan down.

When you get to the bottom part, does it feel like you’re leaning over a railing? When I first viewed this in this format (on this page), by the time I reached the bottom my head was tilted down. Maybe that’s just me, but my body physically (and totally unconsciously) moved as a result of looking at some pixels on a screen.  Pretty neat, I must say.

I’ve heard that vertical panoramas simply don’t make good photographs. Humans have a very wide horizontal view and limited up/down-ness naturally, so horizontal panoramas feel expansive and perhaps absorbing, but verticals… I’m not so sure what they do.  How does a tightly cropped photo of an alligator compare to one of a giraffe?

2 comments on “From the Top Down”

  1. I am the biggest supporter of vertical panoramas. I was just talking ab out how I’d rather make a movie for a vertical movie theater (which was shot down by friends because it is easier to turn your head side to side than up and down…)

    Any chance you would send me this picture?


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