Monday, February 21, 2011

Toy Worlds

Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA
I spent a bit of time this weekend tweaking my skills at producing tilt-shift photography effects via Photoshop. Using Receding Hairline's Fake Model Photography tips, I experimented with various settings until I began to gain some confidence in my technique.

Las Vegas, NV
Tilt-shift photography stems from a mechanical process available to users of certain kinds of cameras. It's often employed to ensure that parallel lines in the real world do not converge in the camera lens (a well known problem to anyone who has dabbled in architectural photography). A related effect of this technique is the ability to produce extremely shallow depth of field.

Reno, NV
With some practice, a photographer can create delightfully miniature-looking scenes using an optical or software-based tilt-shift effect, as if the viewer is looking down upon a child's diorama. Given my fascination of that sort of thing, I've been hoping for the opportunity to figure out this process. After plenty of false starts I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Ocean Speedway, Watsonville, CA
These images come from my archives, but my next goal is to shoot some new photos with tilt-shift technique in mind. I'll search for overhead shots that possess interesting foreground, middleground, and background elements - yet aren't too busy with detail. Natural views can work, but I think that human-made scenes are better for the ideal "toy world" effect. Check back for updates!

West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Canada
Follow-up: Here's my first attempt at setting up a tilt-shift. I took this from the top of the Fourth Street Garage in San Jose. I'm not sure I've got the effect quite right, but I like the direction that this image takes me...

San Jose, CA
(Photographs by Andrew Wood)

2 comments:

Evan said...

There is a nice iPhone app that does tilt shift effects, TiltShift Generator.

Andrew Wood said...

Cool! I'll check it out!