VIEWING AND USING
MY STEREO GALLERIES
For those of you who may have visited earlier, the galleries here had been completely reorganized. Over the years I have wrestled with the problem of how best to display quality stereo photography on the Internet and I have finally come to the conclusion that the task is almost impossible. I shoot full-color Holmes stereoviews, usually with a quality digital twin-camera/slave system, although I occasionally scan print film (slide or print) shot with my Kodak Realist-format camera. Each component of the stereo image pair has a resolution of 1700 x 1700 pixels and the image files are printed at the photo processor, so there is no evidence of digital artifacts. These are really very fine quality images and there is no way that their quality can be illustrated by Internet computer images.
Many of the "film purists" are constantly putting down digital stereo photography and one prime reason is that they judge the camera or final image based on the much-reduced resolution that they see with any approach to Internet display. The Internet is a superb vehicle for introducing people to stereo photography and letting you browse other peoples work with a variety of viewing techniques. However, it is not a way to see how a particular camera system is actually performing.
In order to get around this propblem, my latest revamping of my galleries has been based on trying to do the best job for stereo browsers while providing a way for the serious stereo enthusiast to evaluate quality digital stereo. OK, here is how my new gallery options work.....
A full-color version of each stereoview is posted on the gallery pages. These are very low in resolution compared to the originals (500 x 250 compared to 3400 x 1700), but they look pretty good on the computer screen. These images are sized so that, with most monitors, you can parallel free-view them on the screen. If the stereoview image is too large to freeview on your monitor, see if you can rescale the image to make it smaller. No matter what, you should be able to appreciate the image content and color. If you can freeview, you will also see the image in stereo. Remember - this is a low-resolution version of the image to speed up the loading of each gallery page!
If you are simply browsing the galleries and viewing by your own, preferred method, all your needs are easily met since this site supports Andreas Patersik's marvelous Stereoscope applet. Any Java 1.1 compliant browser - and most are these days - can view my images using any of the common formats. To enable Stereoscope, click on the left side of the stereoview pair. When you do, a 400x400 2D preview image will be posted. Clicking on the preview frame will enable the default stereo display - a red/cyan grayscale anaglyph. Once it has been displayed, use the VIEW option to select another stereo display methos and the SIZE button to select your preferred display size. The 400x400 stereo images look quite good on the computer screen and you can browse to your heart's content using any common stereo display mode .
Original Holmes Stereoview
You also have the option to download the complete, full-color stereoview with no loss of resolution. Simply click on the right side of the stereoview preview image. Don't even think about doing this with a slow-speed/dial-up Internet service! These views have a resolution of 3400 x 1700 pixels and the image files run 4-5 megabytes each! They will download just fine with a high speed DSL or cable service (my DSL service at home delivers one of these images in 30 seconds), but with dial-up you would need hours just for one image!
To download one of the stereoviews to your computer,
If you make a mistake and do the normal left-click on the right side of the stereoview preview, the stereoview will be downloaded and displayed on your computer. It will probably look larger and more detailed than the preview image, but what you will see is still only a fraction of the detail of the image in memory. Once it is displayed, you can save it by right-clicking on the image on your screen and use the Save image as... option to put it wherever you want on your hard drive. When you do so, it will be save at full resolution (4+ megabytes/image).
To see the pictures as they should be viewed, take the pictures files to your local 1-hour photo processor and have them printed as 4 x 6 prints, just as you would your standard digital photos. The resulting prints can be viewed, as they are supposed to be seen, on a 4x6 print viewer or, if pasted onto a 3.5 x 7-inch card, with a basic Holmes stereoscope (see the print viewing discussion that follows).
Viewing Options for Full-scale Stereoviews
The "classic" method for viewing print stereoviews is the Holmes-Bates Stereoscope, shown here in an original patent drawing:
These viewers, with a multitude of variations, became common in the late 1850s and were in production until about WWII. Often improperly called Stereopticons, originals of these viewers are commonly found in attics, antique shops, and EBay. If you have one, a little cleaning may be all that is necessary to restore it to service.
Most on-line stereo suppliers offer basic stereoscopes or kits to build your own. Here is a very basic stereoscope offered by Berezin Stereo Photography Products:
Viewers like this range from about $40 as kits to $70 assembled. One of the benefits to any of these "modern" sterescopes is that the hoods are enlarged slightly to handle moden eyeglasses! Berezin also sells somewhat more elegant designs, such as this pedestal model that retails for about $110:
At the high end of the product range, 3D Concepts carried Alan Lewis' superbly crafted Saturnscope:
This viewer costs over $400, but features achromatic (color-corrected) optics in addition to the best in materials and craftmanship. You don't need this level of quality for general viewing, but if you get really serious about stereoviews, you will eventually start to think about optimizing your optics. If you look over the 3D Concepts website, you will see several other high-end print viewers that represent a very high level of quality.
A Lorgnette is a hand-held set of lenses that you can use to view printed stereoviews in magazines, classic mounted stereoviews, or 4 x 6 print pairs. They range from these simple and inexpensive ($3.00) plastic model from Berezin Stereo Photography Products and other on-line vendors:
through mid-range units such as this wooden, hand-crafted model ($80) from 3Dstereo.com Inc. :
up through the highest quality achromatic version from Alan Lewis' shop ($235) and available from 3D Concepts:
By their nature, lorgnettes are highly portable and you will see stereo enthusiasts using them at shows to view a wide range of print stereo material.
4 x 6 Print Viewers
There are a number of viewers available for looking at stereo pairs in a basic 4 x 4 print format. This Loreo Delux viewer, available from Berezin Stereo Photography Products, offers excellent viewing, folds to pocket size, and is relatively inexpensive ($24). This, or a basic lorgnette, would be you best option for looking at prints from your local 1-hour processor.
If you find this site useful or interesting, please drop me a short note at the address shown below. It would be nice to know if the site were actually being used!
Ralph E. Taggart (firstname.lastname@example.org)