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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Experimenting With Perspective

It’s time to get creative in the unique world of the tilt-shift lens

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Tilt-Shift 101
There's a definite learning curve to using tilt-shift lenses. I could use the better part of this issue of OP explaining the technical intricacies of each and every application for these versatile lenses. Instead, here are some general tips that will be helpful, regardless of your approach when using these lenses. Remember that there are loads of tutorials and insightful articles and blog posts online and on the OP website, www.outdoorphotographer.com.

Use A Tripod. All current tilt-shift lenses are manual focus. This means a greater amount of time and attention to detail are required to make sure you haven't made a mistake or missed your mark. Small movements make a huge difference in both the appearance and accuracy of your image. Utilizing a tripod will maximize your opportunity for a keeper and minimize your chances of falling short.

Use Live View Display. If you're using a DSLR with Live View, use it! Live View has changed the way we can capture tilt-shift imagery. It's nearly essential for confirming focus. Especially when tilting the plane of focus, the tolerance for misfocusing is extremely narrow. Always check your focus at 10x zoom (if possible) on your Live View display. If you don't have Live View, check it on your LCD after clicking the shutter. To achieve the correct effect with this lens, you need to be dead-on with the intended sharp parts of the image. Additionally, utilize the grid overlay on your Live View to aid in ensuring that vertical lines are vertical and that your horizon line
is straight.

Shoot Away! As was mentioned above, the margin for error with these lenses is very narrow. This means that you'll undoubtedly come away with some unsuccessful images. Increase your ratio for success by shooting multiple shots of the same frame when-ever possible. Again, just the slightest movement with your tripod or lens can throw off the focus of your entire image—shooting multiple frames of the same image will work far more to your benefit than detriment.

Experiment. The best way to familiarize yourself with these lenses is simply to get out and shoot with them. Experiment with different degrees of tilt and shift. Experiment with vertical and horizontal tilt. Experiment with large and small apertures—you'll notice the dreamlike effect will be lessened at smaller apertures. You'll find ideal settings for certain types of images and shooting situations. Much of the tilt-shift metadata won't be recorded by your camera, so it may be useful to write down the degree of tilt or shift for different shots.

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