Tilt-shift And The Focus of Interest

Tilt-shift photography is a photographic style that utilizes tilt-shift lenses. There are two different types of movements at work: rotation of the lens against the image plane (tilt), and the movement of the lens parallel to it (shift). This technique results a very shallow depth of field and a large aperture. Tilting the plane creates an area of sharp focus in the picture, also called ‘selective focus’, directing the viewer’s attention to a small part of the image while de-emphasizing other areas.

With the evolution of digital photography this technique can be easily achieved in post processing. It affords greater flexibility when choosing the sharp region and more control over the amount of blur for the out of focus regions. The digital process has created endless possibilities and its most popular application is a new technique called ‘miniature faking’. Miniature faking uses life-size locations or objects and makes them look like a photograph of miniature scale models. The effect is best achieved with photographs taken from a high angle and can be further enhanced by increasing contrast and adding color saturation.

My obsession with the Tour de France has prompted me to try this technique on a couple of photographs from the race with hopes of applying the tilt-shift effect to my filmmaking endeavors.

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1987 Centurion Super Elite

A blast from the past. This beauty is loaded with vintage Shimano 105 components, including a Shimano Biopace chainwheel, Campagnolo low flange hubset with Mavic GP4 wheels and brand new Challenge Vulcano sew-up tires. Cinelli handle bars and stem. Selle Italia Turbo saddle. What an elegant machine.

The Demise of Death Valley

My recent trip to Death Valley made me feel queasy. The national park’s roads have been widened and repaved with new parking lots at each ‘Point of Interest’. There are Jeeps for rent and tour buses run at daily rates.

The park handles more tourists then ever before and the results are visible. Empty cans and broken glasses are scattered everywhere, as the landscape has become polluted with people. Small group tours leave the Sand Dunes covered with footprints. I couldn’t match those great close up shots I did years ago, so I took a few from a distance.

I was even more shocked at Badwater. The path takes you in more than a mile now and I couldn’t locate the salt crystal formations I had seen just 2 years ago by the entrance. Everybody wants to see them so they all end up walking out, further and further.

Being a purist, I tried to stay away from the main attractions and made an extra effort to find new interesting spots. I turned my attention to smaller details and took some time to explore, hoping to find some other hidden beauty in the landscape.

I was also hoping to see some wild flowers blooming and I was lucky enough to spot a patch on my way out of the park.

Death Valley is a real geological and visual treasure. It should be more protected by the park and it definitely deserves much better care from us the visitors.

Flicka

As I was flipping through my pics I realized that I’ve never posted any of them to my Flickr account. My Death Valley selects seemed like a good starting point but other sets like Wires, Tracks and Sunset are most likely to follow shortly. There are a few thousands of pictures to look through so I’m sure that plenty of other categories will pop up as I carefully sift through them.


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