tilt/shift

Warm on the inside

While I continue my deliberations about my future in photography, I’ve promised that I would still post-process and post photographs I’ve take over the last several months, but have just not had the time or inclination to work on.  This shot, of an old spiral staircase, is one I shot during a fairly recent trip to an abandoned paper mill in former East Germany.  I photographed this vertical panorama (or Vertorama) with my 24mm tilt-shift lens, using both shift (to shoot the upper and lower frames of the vertorama), and tilt (to keep the stairs sharper, while allowing the rest of the shot to blur).  By the way, if anyone has questions about how to use a tilt-shift lens, Photomatix and Photoshop to do this kind of work, give me a holler!  And if you want to see a true Vertorama master at work, check out South African photographer Paul Bruins’ work on flickr.  He is known there as Panorama Paul, and it was through his amazing work that I was turned on to Vertoramas!

 

 

The Blue Portal to the Within

I’ve seen this unique church entrance just about every day for the last two years, and I keep promising myself that I will photograph it.  It was not until today, as I was returning from an awesome full day of Urban Exploration (URBEX) with Luis dos Santos, a Berlin-based URBEX photographer extraordinaire, that I finally made good on that promise.  At first, I had intended to shoot this with my 16mm fisheye lens, so I could get really close and further exaggerate the lines of this entry way.  Problem was that the fisheye lens, aimed up at this entrance as it had to be to capture the scene, was straightening the lines of the columns of the entrance, which just would not do.  I wanted you too see it the way I see it, and that meant… you guessed it: a tilt-shift lens, one of the best tools in my arsenal when it comes to creating panoramas, vertical (as in this case) or horizontal.  It was the only way I could capture this entrance in all its glory, which I did by shooting two sets of brackets (one set to capture the bottom half of the shot, and the other set to capture the top half).  After that, I sent the resulting two files to Photoshop, via the MERGE TO PANORAMA function, which produces the vertical panorama I was after.  One of the great things about using a tilt-shift lens (specifically the shift function) to shoot panoramas is that you loose next to nothing from the frames when you merge (that is, there is little to no cropping required), so you end up with a HUGE beautiful file to work with.  This may sound complicated, but it is not.  In fact, I think I’ll try to put a video together showing just how this is done, which I hope to have out in a few weeks.  Until then, enjoy the blue portal to the within.

 

 

 

Return to Sender

While exploring an abandoned mining area in former East Germany, I came across this cool box sitting in the midst of a field of green.  It begged to be photograph, and of course I felt obliged to do so.  I wonder what was in it; suppose I should have opened it up to look, but I rather liked the idea of just wondering, for years to come, what might have been within.

The Battery of Longues-sur-Mer

During a recent trip to France, I had the opportunity to spend the day on a guided tour of Normandy.  It’s hard to describe the emotion one feels when standing on such ground, so I won’t try to do so.  What I will do is to show you some photographs of the area, and give you a little back story, beginning with this shot of the batteries at Longues-sur-Mer.

Built in the first months of 1944, the at Loungues-sur-Mer included four 150-mm guns, housed in casements, located in the middle of the assault sector on the top of a 65 meter cliff overlooking the Channel, and with clear line of sight and in range of  Omaha (American sector) and Gold (British sector) beaches.  In the very early morning hours of 6 June 1944, the French cruiser Georges Leygues and the U.S. battleship Arkansas opened fire on the batteries.  The batteries returned fire, forcing the headquarters ship HMS Bulolo to retreat to a safe distance about one kilometer from the shoreline.  The German guns ceased fire briefly, but then reengaged the allies, continuing to fire until 1900 hours (7pm for you civilians).  While three of the four guns had been disabled by the British cruisers HMS Ajax and Argonaut, the batteries, along with 184 men, did not surrender to the British until the following day.  (Creative notes:  For inspiration, I post-processed this photograph and wrote the post while listening to the awesome Band of Brother’s score.  I shot the photograph below as the sun was still rising over Normandy, using my Nikon D700 and my “travel lens”, the Nikkor 28-300 f/3.5-5.6 ED VR.  The shot above, from inside the gun casement, comes courtesy of the Nikkor 14-24 F/2.8 lens.)

 

Darkly Everafter

It’s been awhile since I’ve been moved to post something darker, but I’m certainly moved to do so today.  I found this old graveyard on the way out to Soviet Base V, by the way.  For those keeping track, I processed this shot to Nox Arcana’s Darkly Everafter.

 

 

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