#374 – Library of Congress Images – Industrial Landscape Panorama


This is a join up of two 8×10 glass negatives so as you can imagine the digital file is huge! Panoramas are (relatively) easy to produce digitally, especially when you have the right tripod head, a fast computer and the right software, but taking one using a large format camera and making darkroom prints must be a hell of a task. There are some panoramas online which are 5-7 images wide – my computer simply isn’t powerful enough to process them at full size.

Obviously, a file of enormous proportions such as this (560mb TIFF, which is 15000 pixels wide!) is unusable on the web, so here are a few 100% crops.

Federal Crop1

 The way you can make out detail in textures, the door frame, cables on the machinery in the background is astonishing, when you consider how far away the camera was.

Federal Crop2

A steam crane ticking over nicely.

Federal Crop3

 This is the far left of the frame. You can make out houses on the hillside in the background, and some kind of mast. I’d love to be able to print out one of these at full size and just look at all the detail.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. This is just fantastic Andy…my idea of heaven, I could pore over this for hours! I wonder where it is? I wondered about somewhere near the Great Lakes, but I have no idea 🙂


    1. andy says:


      Thanks for the comment!

      This plant is in Cleveland and is Federal Wire and Steel. The link to the original Library of Congress images is here.

      This is actually only a small panorama – some of the others on the Library of Congress site are 4 or more images, and if you have a powerful enough computer to merge them (and a nice big HD monitor) then like you say you can spend hours just looking at the tiny details that the glass plates have captured. I have to convert the images from the 150mb tiff files to jpegs for my computer to merge them, and even then it starts to struggle with 3 or 4. You could do some pretty impressive prints at 100% size if you had access to a large format printer, and a lot of money!

      Here’s a few others that I’ve found:

      White Star Line Piers – 3 images http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/det1994007071/PP/.

      Ore and Coal Docks, Erie, Pa – 4 images http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/det1994006757/PP/

      Pittsburgh – 4 images – http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/det1994005533/PP/

      I can see a computer upgrade being on the horizon next year!


      1. Thanks so much for those links, Andy. The Pittsburgh set are particularly interesting and have inspired me to look into this further. I had some copies of paintings on my hard drive depicting one of the bridges in Pittsburgh…probably painted around this period and location…where did I save them 🙂


      2. andy says:

        It would be interesting to see them as a comparison – any chance you could post them on your blog?


      3. Certainly Andy, I will let you know when I find them.


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