Old Jewish Soup Kitchen – How I achieved this panoramic photograph.

Old Jewish Soup Kitchen. Spitalfields

Text and picture World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved.

I really like the stonework on the front of this building. It’s was the old Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor in Brune Street, Spitalfields. It doesn’t matter what time of day or the weather, black and white or colour it always makes a good photograph. The mood of the stonework seems to change with the light.

Opened in 1902 it looked after and fed the less fortunate of the community with bread and soup. It was feeding over 4000 people per day at one stage, as late as the 1950’s it was still feeding over 1000.

The building now has been turned into apartments but the facade has been preserved and I believe is listed. I put my10/24mm wide angle zoom on my Nikon D80 and I could just about get the whole building in the frame, but it just wasn’t right. All I really wanted in my picture was the stonework with it’s inscriptions and carvings and not the upper storeys.

I decided to try for a panoramic of the ground floor. Normally with panoramas I would shoot with at least a 35mm or 50mm lens on a DX format camera to avoid any of the distortion that can occur using a wide angle. However, in this case even backed up against the wall on the other side of the road I was forced to set the 10/24mm to 22mm to make it work. I started by framing the left hand side of the building, I was very careful to keep the camera level and square to the building. Keeping my back pressed against the wall and keeping the camera at the same height,  I moved parallel to the Soup Kitchen and made three frames moving across in line with the building. As you can see it worked really well, I used photomerge in CS5 to put the three frames together, it did a great job with just a little retouching by me.

Can you spot the deliberate mistake ? I know it’s difficult looking at a panoramic photograph on a computer. If you look carefully you can see my reflection in the widows, twice at different points, I was going to retouch it but the client who bought a print loved it so it stayed !

Technical info: Nikon D80 in Manual mode handheld, boy do I wish I had a tripod with me, with a 10/24mm zoom lens set at 22mm. The shutter speed was 1/100 of a second with an aperture of f4.5. The ISO was 200

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