This simple “mod” will help you compose your Sprocket Rocket shots.
It’s fun to use the Sprocket Rocket like the lomographic monster it was designed to be and fire away without worrying too much about composition, but there are some times when you may want to use more traditional composing techniques. Let’s say you want to do an endless panoramic by overlapping your shots in-camera or stitch them together in post processing. Or, let’s say you want to take a picture of a sunset over the ocean and you want a nice straight horizon so it doesn’t look like you were getting seasick in a boat. Wide-angle cameras are more susceptible to the curved horizon effect. If you shoot too high above the horizon, it ends up U-shaped like this:
If you shoot too low below the horizon, it ends up curving the other direction like this:
It’s impossible to straighten horizons in pictures with sprocket holes because the horizon (all edges actually) shows up relative to the sprocket holes. If you want a straight horizon, you’ve got to get it right in the camera. One option is to use a tripod with a level built in. Many tripods have a little “spirit level” built in exactly for this reason. Another option is to have a level on the camera. Many wide angle cameras have a built-in spirit level. The Holga 120WPC is an extremely wide-angle pinhole camera and it has a built-in level.
Unfortunately, the Sprocket Rocket doesn’t have a built-in level. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. You can purchase three-axis spirit levels that mount in the camera’s accessory shoe. They look like this:
You simply slip it into the hot shoe on the Sprocket Rocket like this:
Now, when you shoot you can get a nice straight horizon even without looking through the viewfinder: