Chris Metcalf bio photo

Chris Metcalf

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Instagram GitHub Stack Overflow Photography

So after posting a few tiltshift fakes to my Flickr account, the most frequent response has been “Yeah, they look cool, but what the hell is ‘tilt-shift’ photography??”. Well let me quote myself from an email I sent to my mother as a response to just that question:

Tilt/shift lenses let you change the focal plane of your camera by shifting your lens up/down/left/right or by tilting it in any direction. [1] In this manner you can do lots of interesting stuff to change the field of view and where the "focal point" is on an image. They're used a lot in things like fashion and landscape photography to do things like selectively bring into focus a particular part of a photo. Check out the example fashion photo at the bottom of [2]. For landscape and in particular photos taken at a high angle of city scenes, they have the cool side-effect of allowing you to create pictures that look like macro photos of highly detailed models, since you can shrink the field of view to a narrow plane of the photo a lot like a macro lens does. But I just fake it using a gradient mask and a lens blur in photoshop. [1] [2]

The whole tilt-shift miniature meme probably started with a post to Boing Boing with some awesome shots from a photographer who used a real tilt-shift lens to constrain his depth-of-field to make photos look like ultra-detailed models. And then, as memes go, it took on a life of its own and spawned more Boing Boing posts, Flickr groups, Photoshop “hacks”, and so-on.

Ah, the joys of the intarweb…