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name and portrait Jürgen Matern

website name PanoTwins
website url
city and country Frankfurt, Germany

personal statement About 15 years ago I bought my first serious camera with the money from my first real job. It was an analogue SLR with a 28-70 zoom. With such great gear it should have been easy to take great pictures. It didn't take very long to realize that it was really difficult for me to take a decent picture with this equipment. Considering the money that I had spent on the gear it couldn't be the fault of the camera — it must have been the guy who pressed the buttons. So I went to evening classes to learn darkroom techniques and basic photographic skills.

Fortunately I found a group of people who met every Thursday to talk about a single subject: photography. Soon I was one of them, realizing that photography is not about equipment but about sight, composition and vision.

It was near the end of 2001, when I still concentrated on black and white photography in my own darkroom, that my twin brother Markus bought his first digital camera. With images taken by his Lego-Panobot for the Nikon Coolpix 995 we stitched our first 360° cylindrical image.

The results of his panoramic experiments encouraged me to go digital and make my own panoramic images. I started with partial cylindrical panoramas and finally managed to stitch my first full sphere for the World Wide Panorama Event in March 2005. Since then I have been a regular contributor.

In 2006 I bought my first fisheye lens and accompanied my brother to the Panotools Meeting in Bath. Since then I've been to every European Panotools Meeting. I met great people, heard great talks and got new ideas. In 2008 Markus and I gave our first talk at the Panotools Meeting in Prague. It was about pole shooting, which has been an essential part of my panoramic work since then.

Coming from the printed image I always wanted to be able to also present my panoramic spheres in printed form. So I started to play with different ways of reprojecting spheres. At the Panotools Meeting in 2009, Markus and I talked about reprojecting equirectangular images. And we are doing another talk on this subject at the Palmela 2011 panoramic conference.

This series of three images combines everything I have learnt so far, from many discussions on Thursdays about the results of the work in my darkroom, with my brother and numerous other people in the panoramic community. Thanks to them I'm where I am today…

suggested panel layout

first image
first image title In the subway station “Messestadt West”
first image subject
first image place date Munich, Bavaria, Germany taken February 9, 2008
first image caption Since my participation in the World Wide Panorama Event “Transportation” in September 2006 I had the idea of shooting a series of panoramic images with the subject “Transportation”. Visiting my twin brother Markus in Munich we went for a visit of an old friend and traveled by underground. As we left the subway train at the destination I was impressed by the design of the station. Recently having modified my camera pole (once more) and carrying it with me I was able to capture this image.

This image was shot as a standard spherical image with four images stitched together. The pole was extended to its full length of approximately 3.10 meters (10 feet). Due to the low light, the ISO was set to 800 and aperture was opened to its maximum of 4. Thus the slight in-motion unsharpness of the train at 1/40s shutter time.

second image
second image title The Emser Bridge, which intersects the fairgrounds of Frankfurt Fair
second image subject
second image place date Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany, taken May 10, 2008
second image caption Living in Frankfurt am Main and crossing the bridge several times a month led to the idea of continuing my “Transportation” series. I waited for a sunny day and took my pole to capture some more “Transportation”.

Still using the same lens and camera as in Munich I only had to take four shots to cover the whole sphere. Unfortunately no pedestrian came along but I already had the cyclist and some cars on my images. To show a maximum of means of transportation I took additional images for the plane and for the train. So this image shows a somehow compressed reality. Things which did not happen at the same time were squeezed into a single panoramic image.

third image
third image title The drawbridge over the harbor at Stralsund
third image subject
third image place date Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, taken October 23, 2010
third image caption I was at a family get-together in a city that I had never visited before, and I had my panoramic equipment with me. Taking a walk through the harbor area I crossed the drawbridge and my “Transportation” series came to mind. The car which had to wait until I stepped aside after taking my images was very welcome for the motif.

Four images were used for this spherical image. For the talk my brother Markus and I will be giving at the Palmela 2011 panoramic conference I started to experiment with different reprojections of the “Transportation” series. For this exhibition I finally chose the transverse Mercator projection, as this projection leads to very pleasing results for every image in the series. The reprojection shows 360° from top to bottom and approximately 150° from left to right.

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