Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Create The Old Masters Look With Modern Gear
Using the latest in software, techniques and hardware can provide you with imagery that will rival the masterpieces of nature photography
Wide-angles are great for presenting scale. Getting up and close is sometimes the best way to give your subject the presence it deserves. However, wide-angles can distort objects and skew perspective. Large background objects like tall trees or gargantuan mountains can have a keystone perspective, like the way train tracks look when they converge in the distance (see the illustration below).
One of the most important devices at the Masters’ disposal was built into their large-format view cameras. Because the cameras, while looking low-tech, actually featured nearly infinite adjustability, early nature photographers could control the distortion in the frame down to the smallest detail. By adjusting the lens plane and the film plane, photographers could take advantage of the Scheimpflug Principle to get almost infinite depth of field (see the sidebar on page 7). Using view camera adjustments also enabled the Masters to emphasize or deemphasize elements in the foreground and background of the image.
Modern tilt-shift, or perspective-control, lenses, are popular these days, thanks to new releases from Canon and Nikon. They give D-SLR shooters many of the adjustments of the large-format cameras that the Masters employed. As the name implies, these lenses tilt and shift to take advantage of the Scheimpflug Principle and to control perspective in the frame.
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