It must have been 2002 or 2003 when I first tried my hand at stereo photography, using a simple point-and-shoot digital, shooting at left eye:right eye positions then compositing into a stereo pair or anaglyph. I forget now what software I used, a free download for a Mac, but I do remember that first shot: the Summit Publishing office at the basement of the Robinson’s Galleria mall in Ortigas, where I used to work.
Since then, it’s been a love affair with 3D photography, well before the Hollywood hype machine started hailing 3D as the future of cinema, before Fujifilm and Sony started developing 3D digicams and before consumer 3D monitors were commercially available. In the last two years my main gear have been my twin Nishikas, but years before I found those I had already noticed a small manufacturer from Hong Kong called Loreo.
Loreo had made a reputation for itself in its line of xxx-in-a-cap lenses, lo-fi plastic lenses that were inexpensive yet interesting. Among these was the Loreo 3D Lens in a Cap, this strange looking plastic gadget with two rectangular portals with mirrors as its eyes. Essentially a beam splitter, this lens would take stereo pair photos just as your eyes would, left side – right side.
I managed to inspect one during a trip to Hong Kong but wasn’t particularly impressed with it. The build quality seemed a bit too Holga for the price, so despite wanting a 3D lens badly, I decided to pass. I found out soon enough from the Loreo website that a new and improved version of the lens would come out, so I made up my mind to just wait a while.
The wait took about a year, due to manufacturing delays, then the unavailabilty of spare funds (damn you, my vintage Olympus PENs!). Finally, things fell into place. Funds were available and my in-laws were in Hong Kong. After a short email exchange and a Paypal payment, my lens was on its way via courier to the Park Lane Hotel. A day later, my in-laws were back from their vacation and I had my lens, the superior Loreo 3D Lens in a Cap model number 9005A.
A mighty shout out to Andrew Wu of Loreo who facilitated the quick delivery of the lens and kept in constant communication throughout my buying process. Thanks, too, to Connie Pong for seeing that the delivery was made.
I, in the meantime, will be enjoying my new lens. My friends and I have dubbed it Wall-E, which is apropos because a) it kinda looks like the Pixar character, and b) if you stare at a stereogram wall-eyed your brain will register it as 3D even without the viewer.