Grade: all
Subject: Science

#1911. Teach 3-D stereo photography.

Science, level: all
Posted Sun Aug 13 14:28:44 PDT 2000 by Ron Keas (
Instructions for making stereographs
3-D VIEWMAX, Ben Lomon, California, USA
Materials Required: a disposable camera and an inexpensive stereo-viewer.
Activity Time: open
Concepts Taught: Teaching students how to photograph subjects in stereo-3-D using a single camera.

Instructions for making stereo pairs with a single camera-
By Ron Keas/ stereo photographer for 3-D VIEWMAX

"These instructions are for making stereographs from two 3x5 inch photographs.

Introduction: A 3-Dimensional ("stereoscopic") photograph is made from two slightly different
views of the same scene. These two views are fused together by the 3-D VIEWMAX
Your camera has only ONE eye, so your pictures appear flat, with only the two dimensions
of height and width. The 3-D VIEWMAX instructions will teach you how to give your camera
TWO eyes. With two eyes, your camera sees what you see, and when the resulting two
photographs are mounted side by side, you will be able to look through the stereo-viewer and
see one picture in real, natural 3-D.
The stereographs you will make will be sharper, and bigger than antique stereographs, and
they will be in color. From the moment you look into the viewer and see your first
stereograph, you will never look at photography the same way again.

You can use a single use ( disposable) camera or any other camera. If you use a 35 mm SLR,
use a 50 mm or "normal angle lens".
The camera must be in the vertical position vertical position because a horizontal format
would be too wide.
Stand the camera on its end in the vertical position, on a flat, sturdy surface. You will be taking
two pictures, 3 inches apart.

Take the first picture of any stationary object or scene, and then slide the camera over to the
right 3 inches and take the second picture. You don't even have to look through the camera
viewfinder in the second shot. Just make sure you slide the camera straight over. (You can
draw a line, or glue a ruler on the flat surface to insure that the camera is moved the proper
distance, and slides straight.) A small table can act as your surface. You can photograph
people, if you can get them to hold still. If you need to tilt the camera up or down, tilt the table
instead, because one camera shot mustn't be tilted differently than the other.

Your first photograph is the "left view", and the second photograph is the "right view". Keep
track of which is which. When you get the film developed, get the 3x5' print size. 4x6" prints
are too wide, even in the vertical format. Order matte prints for less glare.

To make a stereograph from the two prints, tape the left and right views together down the
middle, on the back, making sure that when viewed, the left view is on the left, and the right
view is on the right. The stereo pairs can also be mounted side by side on cardboard with a
photo spray glue. If you mount the prints onto cardboard, leave no border at the bottom, as
the image should be touching the bottom of the 3-D VIEWMAX stereo-viewer.

Place the finished stereograph between the white lines on the back flap of your 3-D
VIEWMAX stereo-viewer. You can also view your stereographs in antique stereoscopes.

As an experiment in hyper stereo, you can separate the two camera positions about 2 or 3 feet
instead of the normal 3 inches, and shoot into a valley, or other objects at a distance. (Make
sure there are no objects in the foreground when shooting hyper stereo or they won't converge
when viewed). A hyper stereo stereograph will show depth in far away objects that normally
isn't seen.

You can email your questions to: or send a letter to
Ron Keas
PO Box 261
Ben Lomond, CA 95005