Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tilt-And-Shift Lenses

The frames making up the clip from yesterday comprised a series of time-lapse stills, downsized and turned into the video shown, taken via a tilt-and-shift lens (plus the required 35mm adapter) by Keith Loutit.

Tilt-and-shift (T/S) lenses were originally developed as a way for architectural photographers, amongst others, to compensate for those converging verticals you get when shooting a building from somewhere below the centre line. Unless the image plane - film or digital - is absolutely parallel to the subject, buildings lean inwards, trees tilt and the world as a whole takes on an almost vertigo-inducing quality. On the basis that it's much easier to move the lens around to correct these kinds of problems rather than the camera itself (trying to elevate it half up a church facade, for example, is no mean feat), a T/S lens allows you instead to move the glass elements in two directions relative to the film plane and hence correct things that way instead.

One of the by-products of this range of adjustment is the ability to create a very narrow and targeted depth-of-field, something that's used to great effect in this video, and also here (choose Index/Sports/Play Magazine) to give another perspective to, in this case, sporting events such as horse racing.

Be fun to try out and see what can be done but I can't personally justify the $1,000 such lenses cost. For now, I'm glad to leave this sub-branch of the art-and-craft of photography to others better qualified and better financed to work with!

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