Tilt Shift Adventures – Part 1

Last week I received my new Canon 24mm TS-E f/3.5 L II tilt shift lens. This is a lens I have coveted for quite a few years. I just never bought it because it was quite an investment. Tilt shift lens are of interest because they add a number of new of ways to express yourself while taking photos. They add two new parameters to the process of taking photos.

Cramond Island

Shifting the lens moves the lens parallel to the imaging plane. This allows you to take photos that are perceived to be taken from another point. If you are taking a photo of a building from the ground due to perspective the top of the building will appear smaller. With a tilt shift lens you can shift the lens up to reduce the perspective effect so the lines of the building appears to be parallel. Tilting the lens changes the focal plane of the lens. This can be used to keep more of your image in focus without using overly small apertures. Or alternatively can be used for selective focus and isolating areas of the images. Using selective focus tilt can be used to create those toy town images that are ever so popular. While these are easily faked in Photoshop the tilting of the lens to extend the in-focus area of the image isn’t. My first experiments have all been to do with tilting the lens.

Kitchen table

Ever since I receive the lens the weather has taken a turn for the worse so I started experimenting in the house first. Above is an image of our kitchen table with a collection of cutlery. With a standard lens it would have been impossible to get the whole of this table in focus but with lens tilted downwards towards the table I managed to keep everything in focus.

This afternoon I managed to get out for a few hours to go to Cramond beach. The weather was still abysmal. It was trying to snow and my fingers were about to drop off, but I still managed to experiment with the tilt effects of this lens. Above you can see the same image but with the lens tilted in different directions. The first image is an upward tilt and while the foreground is in focus the background goes out of focus very quickly. The second image has a downward tilt and all of the scene is in focus, something that isn’t possible with even the smallest aperatures on a standard lens.

Tilted beach

I continued to experiment with the tilt. This has an upward tilt and I’ve used the selective focus to blur out the immediate foreground and the background.

Tilted beach

This is a different version of the first image in the post. The first image has been tilted upwards and focused on Cramond island in the distance. The foreground was all blurred and the coloured pebbles became more prominent. This version the whole scene is in focus and contains so much detail. This is something none of my other lens are able to do. At least some of the image would be out of focus This lens has so many possibilities. I’m sure there will be more than a few more subsequent posts about this lens. I haven’t even started experimenting with the shift yet.

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