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Some Black And Whites For a Saturday Night. March 6, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: , , , , ,

Been sick as a dog all week, but today was too nice to spend in bed, so I went out into the world with a head full of medicine and Elliot affixed to my box.

Despite the bright sunshine and temps tipping 50, I wasn’t feeling very colorful, and shot primarily in black and white.  Here are a few shots from my day.

A water tower in Readsborough, VT:

A limestone quarry wall in North Adams:

…and the view under the limestone arch at Natural Bridge State Park:

All of these employed considerable “shift,” but only the last used appreciable “tilt,” and in that case it was close to my 8-degree maximum, as I was less than a foot from the arch.

Elliot was quite an investment for a poor boy, but I figured if I’m ever going to make anything come of my love of photography, getting the right tools for the job would be a smart move.

I liked these shots, and hope you do too.



1. pagan sphinx - March 7, 2010

That first shot is amazing.

I’m having a hard time trying to figure out the basic settings on AUTO, on my new Canon, nevermind an Eliot to figure out.

Nice job!

2. Tengrain - March 7, 2010

I missed something, clearly — Elliot?

I’ve been fascinated with tilt-shift photography for years; I’ve played around with similar effects in Photoshop, but they are not yet successful for me. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

Oh, wait – is that what Elliot is: a real tilt-shift lens? Wow, that’s cool! I didn’t think that those were made any longer!



3. sherry - March 8, 2010

oh wow! i’m breathless!

4. TheCunningRunt - March 8, 2010

Sherry, thanks- I liked the results as well.

Ten, most of the Photoshopped “Tilt-shift” stuff is nonsense, a mere blurring of the periphery to make a distinct element of a photo look like a model. Even Wikipedia defines “tilt-shift photography” as such.

That’s total bullshit, and you heard it straight from me.

“Tilt-Shift” is actually a set of techniques employed by medium and large format photographers, those who (still) roam the landscape with Big Units mounted on sturdy tripods. They wield huge pieces of film set into a camera back, which can be adjusted to various angles relative to the subject, and an objective lens chosen from a big bag of lenses, which can also be tilted relative to the subject.

Tilting the forward, or “objective” lens, converts the focal distance into a focal plane, which can be laid down like a rug, perhaps two feet below the camera, with sharp focus extending to infinity.

Yeah, I know. It boggles the mind. But it works, so it gets done.

Imagine that breath-taking desert shot, of the distant mountains crisply rendered, and there in the near corner of the photograph is a spectacular cactus flower in all its glorious detail.

That’s most likely been taken with a medium format camera using objective lens tilt.

And the afore-mentioned “shift” is what one does with the camera back, i.e. the “film plane.” Tilting the back controls perspective, managing convergence and vanishing points in photos which are taken at an angle to their subject. Think of that shot of the open road where the pavement edges converge into a distant point, or a shot looking up into tall trees, where they all seem to be leaning toward a “vanishing point.” Tilting the camera back, or “film plane,” can alter that so that tall buildings don’t look like they’re falling over backward, and tall trees don’t converge.

“Shift” distorts an image from what the eye sees and presents the eye with the brain’s interpretation of the world, so that distant things aren’t rendered small, but just distant.

My Canon TS-E II 24mm L-Series lens does all this, albeit at a hefty price. The lens’ nomenclature generated the name “Elliot,” and I’ll bet you can now see why.

Sorry for such a long-winded explanation, but this is something I’m currently passionate about and enjoying way too much. I’ll conclude by saying that 90% of my tilt-shift stuff will be aiming for increased depth of field, and the rest will be attempts to isolate things from their surroundings.

But NONE of it will be done in Photoshop, which adds nothing to an image, only takes things away.

*takes a breath*

Thanks for asking.

5. Bob - March 8, 2010

They’s all good, but I gotta second Pagan Sphinx.


6. UM - March 10, 2010

These are all well done. I can’t decide which I like best (they’re all so different) but I know that I’m greatly enjoying the first, like the other folks here. I’d like to see the original images — full format — the next time I see you…I may have to invest in a framed copy!

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