Creative Wallscapes Creates Opportunities for Panoramic Photographers

Professional photographers who specialize in panoramic photography might want to check out the services of Creative Wallscapes, a LexJet customer in Burnsville, MN.  The large-format, print-for-pay company specializes in producing and installing environmental graphics that can transform the look of retail spaces and restaurants and establish more pleasant and productive surroundings in corporate offices.  According to Creative Wallscapes owner Greg Dean, corporations have increasingly seen the value of using imagery to upgrade work spaces from boardrooms to hallways.

As a result, Creative Wallscapes often partners with panoramic photographers to market suitable large-scale images for environmental graphics. In some cases, photographers simply provide the content for murals that Creative Wallscapes sells.

Or, professional photographers can promote and sell the murals directly on their own websites, then subcontract the printing and installation of the murals to Creative Wallscapes. “Right now, one photographer in particular is keeping us quite busy with the graphics he is selling online,” says Greg. “We’re hoping that other photographers will see the profit potential in this type of arrangement.”

Professional photographers can contact Greg through the company’s website: or call 877-767-7446.

Creative Wallscapes worked with photographer David Lawrence to create these beautiful murals for Corvalent's new headquarters in Austin, TX.

Photo Book Presents Uncommon View of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

You don’t have to travel the world to shoot images remarkable enough to sell.  Gifted photographers can find visually powerful scenes without wandering far from their own backyards.  

Just ask LexJet customer Jeff Rogers. He grew up in a tiny town (population 250) in rural Kentucky and has spent the past 20 years photographing Kentucky’s people, products, and culture for advertising, commercial, and corporate clients. His images have appeared in magazines such as National Geographic Traveler and Delta Sky magazine and on 30-ft. photo murals at the Lexington airport. 

Last October, he released his second coffee-table book of panoramic images of Kentucky. The book is entitled Kentucky Wide II, and Rogers expects it to be a popular promotional tool or memento for the thousands of horse-lovers from around the world who will come to Kentucky this year for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.  A number of Kentucky-based corporations bought the book for Christmas gifts. And some Kentucky residents bought copies to send to sons and daughters who have moved out-of-state. 

Kentucky Wide II presents breathtaking panoramics that Lexington-based commercial photographer Jeff Rogers captured on 35 mm Fuji transparency film using a Hasselblad XPan camera. Each image in the book is printed at least 7 in. high and 20 in. wide, spreading across two pages of the 11.5 x 8 in. book. Rogers self-published his first photo book (Kentucky Wide) in 2006, and it sold out within months. Shown here: Cumberland Gap in the autumn. ©Jeff Rogers.

Self-publishing and marketing a photo book can be a lot of work, Rogers admits. But his  photography business has benefitted in ways other than revenues from direct sales of the book. For example, because the book has sparked awareness of his archives of Kentucky-themed images, Rogers has sold many wall prints to upscale restaurants in Kentucky cities. (He prints these images himself, using LexJet Sunset Select Canvas or Sunset Textured Fine Art paper on his Epson Stylus Pro 9800.)

He has also seen an increase in his stock-photography sales. Most recently, Rogers learned that this book has received three Addy Awards from the Lexington Advertising Club.   

Kentucky Wide II is the second book Rogers has published.  He published his first photo book in 2006, using 75 panoramic images that he had shot over a 10-year period while “getting lost” on the picturesque back roads that crisscross the farmlands, forests, and lake regions of Kentucky. The book sold out in a few months, so Rogers decided to produce a follow-up.

For Kentucky Wide II, Rogers took a different approach. He deliberately set out to shoot a cross-section of images that would more fully reflect the diversity and beauty of Kentucky in all four seasons. The 83 images in Kentucky Wide II not only include scenes of farms, forests, and skylines, but also show rock climbers at Red River Gorge in Eastern Kentucky, barrels in a bourbon warehouse on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, colorful jockey silks hanging in a locker room at Keeneland Race Track, grapes being harvested at the Lover’s Leap Winery, and cars being manufactured at the General Motors’ Corvette assembly plant in Western Kentucky. 

Even though he shoots all of his commercial work digitally, Rogers shot 81 of the images for the Kentucky Wide II book on 35 mm Fuji transparency film. For the panoramic format, he used a Hasselblad XPan camera to expose approximately 1-3/4 frames per shot on the film. Jeff Whatley at National Geographic Imaging made 300MB drum scans of each image, and Richard Sisk made the meticulous color correction to meet the original film as closely as possible. 

“It would have been easier, and certainly less expensive to digitally stitch these images together in Photoshop,” Rogers acknowledges. “But I chose to create them with a dedicated film camera because of the purity of the process.”

“I have always enjoyed the creative challenge of using different formats and perspectives.” adds Rogers. Not only does it give the viewer something different, but it also enables him to produce the types of images that most people can’t replicate.

He hired a photo editor to help him select which images to include, and a graphic designer to make the book look like more of an art book, than a travel book.  And of course, he timed the book’s release for Christmas gift-giving and promotion of the 2010 World Equestrian Games.  

The 176-page, hardcover book sells for $39.95 and is available at bookstores, online, and on his own website. Rogers is donating a portion of the proceeds from book sales to various charitable organizations, including a clean drinking water program in Bolivia, the Center for Women in Racing, Hospice of the Bluegrass, and the Lexington Rescue Mission. 

To see more of Rogers’ work, visit his website

Rogers chose to shoot panoramics so viewers of Kentucky Wide II could experience Kentucky sights and scenes in a more natural, immersive way. Shown here: Flat Lick Falls in Jackson County. ©Jeff Rogers.

How Photography Careers Evolve: Panorama Expert Dave Orbock

Each year Full Circle Photo captures panoramic group portraits of the Senate and House of Delegates of the Maryland State Legislature. To make sure he gets images of everyone in the room, Dave Orbock uses his Holcherama panorama film camera with shift lenses. Photo: Full Circle Photo Imaging,
Each year Dave Orbock captures panoramic group portraits of the Senate and House of Delegates of the Maryland State Legislature. For this job, he uses his Holcherama panorama film camera with shift lenses. Full Circle Photo Imaging,

Photography enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds often wonder if they have what it takes to “go pro.” The more you learn about the careers of successful photographers, the more you realize that people with a  passion for excellence in photography always find a way to do more of what they love. They have a vision and they pursue it.  For example, let’s look at the career path of Dave Orbock.

Fine-art photographer Dave Orbock specializes in medium and large-format panoramas of cityscapes and landscapes.  He has hiked and photographed National Parks throughout the US and Canada and photographed many US cities and the surrounding countryside. His archives also include images from most of Europe, parts of Latin and South America, Asia, and Africa. Orbock has climbed Mt. Kilamanjaro, hiked the Inca Trail from Cuzco to Machu Picchu, served as a guest lecturer in a cultural exchange program in China, and won first prize at the Paris Conference of the International Association of Panoramic Photographers. 

Because of the quality of his work, Orbock is represented by museums, galleries, and art consultants throughout the U.S. and his images have been purchased by individual collectors, museums, and major corporations.  He sells many photographs to stock agencies and corporate publishers and his prints are displayed in dozens of corporate office buildings, universities, hospitals, hotels, and professional offices.

Judging from this long list of travels and accomplishments, you might assume Dave has spent his entire career as a professional photographer. Not so.

Dave was a dedicated hobbyist who built a thriving photography business on the side while working in an entirely different occupation. Until retiring nine years ago, Dave Orbock was a physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  Now he is engaged in the photography business full-time.

In addition to producing and selling his own photography, he runs Full Circle Photo Imaging, a lab he founded in 1987 in Baltimore, MD. Full Circle not only lets him oversee how his own photography is printed and framed, but it also enables him to help other photographers and artists produce exhibition-quality work.  

Full Circle provides expert assistance in a wide range of services, including scanning, fine-art reproduction, photo restoration, and printing, mounting, laminating and custom-framing of large-format and panorama photographs. 

Camera Equipment: Dave Orbock first became seriously interested in panorama photography in the 1970s when he traveled out west to National Parks such as Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and the Badlands.  He regarded panoramic photography as the only format that would enable him to truly capture the sweeping grandeur of the scenery.  He began showing and selling images in the 1980s. 

The first panorama images Orbock shot were captured with a Kodak Cirkut camera, a rotating camera designed to capture long, continuous exposures on rolls of film that were anywhere from 5 to 16 in. high.  Orbock used a Cirkut model that used film that was 10 in. high and around six feet long. Although the camera captured wonderful images, it was impractical to transport to remote shooting locations. Not only was the camera itself big, but it also required lugging along a heavy tripod and cumbersome canisters for rolls of film that were 10 in. high.

So in 1981, Orbock switched to a Hulcherama, a motorized film camera that could shoot a continuous exposure while rotating 360 degrees. This camera used medium-format 120 or 220 film to create negatives or transparencies 2.25 x 9 inches long. Today, along with the “Hulch,” Orbock uses the Seitz Roundshot panoramic camera which operates much like the Hulcherama.

From a Basement Darkroom to His Own Lab: Like many pro photographers who began as serious hobbyists, Orbock started developing film in a basement darkroom in his home. He bought a small color processor and enlarging equipment that could handle film sizes up to 12 x 15 in. He also rigged a set-up so that his enlarger projected images on an easel over his wife’s washer and dryer and was able to print pictures up to 8 ft. long.

But when he started selling more of his work, he moved his enlarging and processing equipment into two joined row houses in midtown Baltimore and hired a small staff of dedicated professionals to  ensure the utmost in quality when his work was printed and framed.  Operating as Full Circle Photo Imaging, this team offers a wide range of analog and digital printing services to other photographers.

Full Circle can produce black-and-white prints up to 20 inches wide and chromogenic prints up to 30 inches wide from film. Using an Epson Stylus Pro 9800 purchased from LexJet, they can also output photographic prints and art reproductions up to 44 inches wide. Full Circle can also design flyers, cards, and calendars on which photographers and artists can display their images.

Pam Brumbley, who received a BFA in photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design, oversees the studio’s digital services and provides personalized consultations on print, scanning, and retouching jobs.  Full Circle also handles many types of framing jobs, primarily on archival materials. In addition to mounting on archival foamboard , the staff, led by Ruth Nuhn, will mount images up to 48 in. wide on any mountable surface.  

Meanwhile, Orbock continues to travel frequently, shoot, and sell more of his own images. He is a charter member of the International Association of Panoramic Photographers (IAPP), which was formed in 1984. The IAPP promotes education and idea-sharing and expands public awareness and appreciation for panoramic photography and immersive imaging.  Full Circle has helped print, mount, and laminate images for some of the IAPP’s exhibitions.

When the International Association of Panoramic Photographers held an exhibition at Prince George’s Community College, Dave Orbock’s team at Full Circle Photo matted and mounted many of the works displayed at the show. They also printed some of the exhibited images. Photo: Full Circle Photo Imaging,
When the International Association of Panoramic Photographers held an exhibition at Prince George’s Community College, Dave Orbock’s team at Full Circle Photo matted and mounted many of the works displayed at the show. They also printed some of the exhibited images. Photo: Full Circle Photo Imaging,

Orbock is pleased that interest in panoramic photography is booming. He feels this is due mainly to innovative stitching software that enables photographers with standard DSLRs to combine multiple frames into one continuous image. However, he believes that motorized, rotating cameras are still faster and more efficient for professional jobs – especially when capturing group portraits or images in which the motion of people or objects might require additional editing time during the stitching process.

 You can see examples of Orbock’s images in the gallery on Full Circle Photo’s website:

If you are interested in learning more about panorama photography, visit the website of the IAPP:

More details about Full Circle Photo Imaging will be published in the next  issue of LexJet’s In Focus newsletter.