A New Tilt on an Old Theme

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I thought that I’d share my first in the field experiment with a tilt shift lens. My first attempt with a tilt shift was this which of course taught me that in addition to manual focusing I needed to also be manual exposure. Probably not too much of a surprise for anyone whose used these lenses but it’s all new to me. I also was ready for the back end freak out where photoshop isn’t able to stitch my images together for me but that comes later.

So how did I get here? I’ve been worrying unnecessarily about depth of field. While you, like me, are setting the F stop to 22 (or some other high number) focusing a third into the scene and then firing away with the knowledge that you’re going to have good front to back focus. While this has served me well I realize that the only thing in your image that actual is in focus in the thing that you’ve focused upon and everything else in the same plane as that point of focus. Everything else is acceptably out of focus.

The medium and large focus photographers that have access to tilt and shift are able to angle the plane of focus and by doing so get more (all?) of the image in focus. Scheimpflug principle anyone? With a DSLR one way to achieve the same large depth of field is by taking multiple images with different points of focus and then blend them to extend the depth of field. Helicon focus is a well respected piece of software that can help if this is something that you’re interested in, beyond what you can achieve in photoshop. This approach is somewhat problematic when things in your image are in motion, such as my favorite subject – water. This is where a tilt shift lens comes in. It should give you access to the same tilt and shift functions that you would have with a medium or large format camera.

My playing so far has been restricted to the shift function which is how the image above was made. A vertical panorama stitched together and then cropped. See the images that I used below.

Top:

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Middle:

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Bottom

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Which when stitched together give:

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Which I then cropped to this:

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I think that this is working. The next experiment will be to see what I can do with the tilt functionality. That should be fun.

Why Do You Photograph?

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If you’ve been following along here, in the last few weeks we’ve been digging in to identify our purpose, the big why that is the underlying reason for the choices that we make in life. A touchstone that helps guide us through difficult decisions.

Before I leave this topic for a little while I could help but ask a final question. Why do you photograph? Perhaps related is how does your photography support your big why?

Now I’m not thinking about what kind of photography, sports, documentary, editorial, fine art etc., or what you photograph but why do you do the thing that you’ve chosen to do.

There are lots of reasons that people photograph, to capture the essence of a person or a pet, to make other people feel emotion, to preserve significant moments, to create something, as a meditative practice. The list goes on.

Making the connection between your photography and your big why can help identify new photography projects, bring existing photographic projects into focus, give a sense of direction to your work and also a reason to keep going when you’re wondering is it worth it. Additionally, as we’ve discussed previously understand why helps guide your decision making and help make sense of the myriad of options you have for spend your most precious resource of all – time.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

OB Rocks Final-1I was thrilled to be accepted into the exhibition ‘What I did on my summer vacation‘ curated by Jim Fitts, Founder of PhotoWeenie.com and Anne DeVito, Co-Owner of Panopticon Gallery. The exhibition opened in the private room at the Panopticon Gallery September 12 and runs until Jan 14. So there’s still time left to look at the selected images.

I really liked where the photo was placed in the room, in a little alcove as shown below.

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The opening was quite a scene. A couple of artist talks and tons of people. Really overwhelming.

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Fishnets in the Morning

Often when we are looking at the charts of both familiar and new sailing waters we see areas marked off as ‘fish traps’ – no go areas during particular times of the year.  In our home waters of Narragansett Bay I have yet to see any evidence of the fish traps but nevertheless we stay well clear just in case.  In the bays towards the end of Long Island however it’s a very different story.  Nets strung out between poles like the one above are a common sight.  I have yet to work out what kind of fish these nets are intended to catch or in fact to ever see anyone paying any amount of interest in them but they are a dominant sight just of the beach where we take the kids swimming.  If you know more I’d be delighted to hear about it.

One Morning in Maine

Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the eastern seaboard and as such is one of the first places to view sunrise.  This means an earlier start to the day than usual, even earlier in the middle of the summer.  The image above was made last weekend on my third visit to Cadillac mountain.  The first time I barely knew how to turn my camera on.  By my second visit I knew how to turn the camera on but didn’t know where to point it – I was however in great company.  The intro to this Joe McNally video was shot at the Moose Peterson DLWS workshop I attended on the day we visited Cadillac Mountain.  On my third visit to Cadillac Mountain I had learned more or less where to point the camera and I was again in great company.  This time with John Paul Caponigro‘s Maine Islands workshop, a challenging but fun few days.  More about that soon.