Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Experimenting With Perspective
It’s time to get creative in the unique world of the tilt-shift lens
Tilt-shift shooting is different than the typical approach to imagery. It's fun, and it can lend an interesting, artistic and quirky look to your images. It may be the tool that helps you see many of the same old shots in a new way. Lenses that can shift and tilt up and down and side to side initially were created for architectural photographers looking to counter the distortion that occurs when pointing a camera up or down (called keystoning or pincushion distortion). When you're pointing your camera up or down, you'll notice in your images that vertical lines/shapes tend to lean forward or backward. The solution, unless you're shooting with a large-format view camera, is a tilt-shift lens (Canon lenses with this ability are called T-S, or Tilt-Shift, while Nikon lenses are called PC, or Perspective Control; I'm primarily a Canon shooter, so I tend to use the term tilt-shift).
The questions, then, are when and why to tilt-shift? Here's my look at how to use a lens that will change the way you see and shoot.
Tilt-shift lenses are a fantastic manifestation of the power of selective focus. Many times, I'll be shooting wide-angle imagery where I'm unable to achieve the very shallow depth of field that I'd like to separate the subject from its surroundings. With this creative tilt application, a tilt-shift lens essentially allows you to take horizontal or vertical "slices" of your image and render them sharp, while the remainder of the image retains a dreamlike or blurred effect.
Without the use of a tilt-shift lens in many of these images, the subject would be completely lost in the frame. By using the tilt-shift effect, I'm able to provide a huge amount of context in my photographic frame and still draw the focus directly to the activity or subject that I initially intended to be the anchor of the image.
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