Tuesday, 27 April 2010

tilting at waterfalls

I've recently discovered the joys of the tilt/shift lens. Anyone who has worked with large-format cameras (head under a cloth) will know all about this. I haven't so I didn't, other than in theory. It took a little time to get my head round it: tilting gives the ability to move the bits that are in focus (the depth of field) into different areas of the image. It can have some weird effects, particularly when deliberately misused, such as making a real scene look like a model.

Its normal use is always in danger of delivering a look like a picture postcard. It's another example of the sophistication of the modern eye: we recognise visual clues even if we don't know their names because we are bombarded with them all day. 

This extreme focus control should put you in the picture. But it doesn't. It keeps you well outside, the detail once more contributing to alienation rather than inclusion.

Slowly, I'm learning where it will improve images, and where it won't. Usually the second is easy to do but useless, the first is difficult but rewarding.

Wave those flags

Of all the spring pop-ups, the one that gives me the greatest kick is seeing the Yellow Flags come back. They seem to have an ability to capture the light and re-distribute it in a way that no other leaf can do. Other iris variants shine like this, but not to the same degree. The difficulty, of course, is in the exposure, particularly now that it's so easy to fake in Photoshop. 
As the leaves flesh-out, I'll post some more...