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Tim Porter
United Kingdom
Current Residence: Cambridge - UK
Favourite genre of music: Some dance, trance, ambient
Favourite photographer: Joe Cornish, John Shaw, Lee Frost
Favourite style of art: Modern - Simplistic
Operating System: Win2k/XPpro
MP3 player of choice: On pc - winamp. In life my sony phone
Favourite cartoon character: Bart/Homer
Personal Quote: Read my Message Sig...

Panoramics and Tilt/Shift - Technique + Update

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 26, 2008, 9:27 AM
Other Info
Shifting Light Projects -…

Hello people :) sorry for not updating my page very much lately, I've just not got around to it yet. I hope you haven't all grown board. I hope you find this bit below helpful and also an insight into how I've been doing things.

Also please view the features at the bottom of the page. I have been meaning to feature them for ages so here goes.

Panoramics and Tilt/Shift Photos – The technique

I have for a long time now been taking my photos with tilt and shift lenses and have found them wonderful to use. If you look up details of these lenses you'll find that they are fixed lenses. In a way I prefer this as it forces to you think about composition in a new light and forces you to move yourself into position that is going to suit the photo. This, I find, makes me try to be more creative, not limiting as some might think. With a zoom lens it is all too easy to see something you like and stand in one position and just zoom in and out. While fixed lenses force you to move around the scene to get into the best position.

These are the lenses that I use… - I have been using the 24mm and the 45mm.

I think that tilt and shift lenses often get overlook by landscape photographers and people wanting to take landscape shots because many people believe them to be for architecture.
I have often found that when asked what lenses I use and I say tilt and shift lenses exclusively, the response is "Oh so you photograph buildings then…" No I don't :p

Below I have mainly talked about the shift function of the lens, which is great, but the tilt function is just as great. When the lens is tilted towards an angled object the depth of field (or focus) is set along the angle/plain in relation the angle of tilt. So Here is a detailed explanation of tilting.

Tilt Demonstration by lemondog

This is a demonstration of the tilt function of a tilt and shift lens and why it can be so useful.

Please note the bottom 2 images where taken on the same settings @ f/2.8 ISO 1600 1/60sec 45mm

The only difference is the tilted lens. On the images to the left are what a regular lens would see at those settings and on the right is what you would see if you tilted the lens towards the object.

What happens the focus plain tilts its angle away or towards the camera as you tilt the lens. A regular lens has the plain of focus parallel with the back of the camera so the only things in focus will be the objects that intersect with that parallel line of focus.

When the camera is left in the same place but the lens is tilted the plain of focus tilts on a logarithmic scale not a linear scale. This means that if you tilt the lens by say 1 degree the plain of focus may tilt by 4 degrees, if the lens is tilted by 2 degree the plain of focus is tilted by about 10 degrees. So the ratio of movement is not a linear one.

Now, you might ask why this is important, well to most people they may never use a tilt and shift lens, so it won't matter, but its always nice to learn and* might prompt you to go out and buy one if you feel you can justify the money.

2 things that benefit from this is that you can obtain deep depth of focus using an otherwise large aperture to use in low light, maybe hand held. In the test shot above I used an aperture of f/2.8 but if i was to use a normal lens and try and get the same shot as the right hand image I would have had to use f/13 - f/16 and that is a massive difference.

Now the second thing. In landscape photography if I have detail in the foreground and I want the focus to extend to the background then I would normally have to use f/22.
This aperture on a 45mm lens give me a focus depth of 1.5 meters to infinity. If I were to give maximum tilt toward the ground I could if I wanted to include detail that is only 40cm away from the camera to infinity and still be using only f/8 - f/11. This means that I can use either faster shutter speeds or lower ISO or use hand held when other wise it would be impossible. Also I get a wider focus range so I can include more and/or get closer to the ground and/or use sharper angles of view and still get maximum sharpness front to back.

Anyway I hope that explains it well. So if you hear me go on about such a thing in a photo of mine, you'll know what I'm on about ;)  

Test pano 1 by lemondog

This is a test pano shot taken with the 24mm tilt and shift lens, used to demonstrate the technique used to create pano's without the distortion normally associated with creating pano's from stitching images from pivoting the camera on a tripod.

This is true pano image produced by a tilt/shift lens by shifting the lens left to right on the camera (without moving the camera). This create an undistorted angle of view which requires no adjustment in Photoshop or other programs to line up the 3 photos perfectly and thus create a true pano image. See my journal entries for the complete details.

Test pano 2 by lemondog

This is traditionally the style of stitched photos by which you pivot the camera on the tripod to create a panoramic view.

The only problem with rotating the camera on the tripod is that the perspective changes and so to get an accurate pano stitch you need to deliberately re-distort the images so that the perspective lines up. This sample I used just 2 images and have kept the image lines to show the distortion required to get a normal eye view.

The middle is sectioned out to show how a tilt and shift lens would have see it all be it a bit better.

I have taken this photo to compare the differences between using a tilt and shift lens to produce pano's and rotation the camera (traditional).

Notice how much loss of image is required to get a good crop to create the pano. With a tilt and shift lens, this is not an issue. Also when "re-distorting" the image the computer has to "create" new pixels and "destroy" others to bend and skew the image into shape. This of course means a loss in quality. Not normally a problem when view on a computer screen, but try printing this 36 inches by 12inchs and you soon see that this is not practical.

You might ask why you would want to print that big. Well simply put most people don't. However If you want to sell your photos either as prints or stock you need to be able to produce the highest quality you can and as quickly as you can.

A series of photos from a tilt and shift lens only takes about 10 mins to make a basic pano, a stitched photo from moving the camera takes about 30 mins to get "right" and an hour to get "great" and that's just the stitching not even editing.

There are programs out there that can stitch photos for you. Some are incredibly good, but they still have to distort you originals and skew them to get them to line up and if they don't the image looks a bit weird and not normal. Most programs that do all that still don't get it right 100% and most of the time you have to do a bit of hands on work to get them to look right.

The other point is that the sharper the angle of view to the ground is the more pronounced the distortion will be. This can create a whole new set of problems which are very hard to over come in Photoshop. This is why most pano's are taken with the horizon bang center of the picture as this gives the least amount of distortion.

Most nature photographers like to include a good amount of foreground detail but to do this would require a low view point and/or a sharper angle of view to the ground.

Tilt and shift lenses completely get around this problem and they create awesome high res pano's.

The other way some people may create pano's, is to use a simple wide angle lens and one photo and then crop the image to a pano. As you would guess this looses a huge amount of photo information so a 12.8 mega pixel image would suddenly become a 6mp photo. Not great for enlargements and compare that to a 36 mega pixel image from using a tilt and shift lens. There really is no comparison and the prints are utterly impressive.

As a conclusion, I'd just like to say that which ever way you do things is fine if you're happy doing them that way, and When you get good at something it doesn't really matter how you do it but it is the end result that counts.
What I have tried to describe is why and how I do things but there is nothing wrong in doing things another way. The thing is to be happy with how you do it and to want to experiment and always want to improve.

Note me for any more info.


Morning of the August by doberman4ik Sea by Astic
La sedia by Astic Distant Memories by Zan61
Silence by devknu Solway by Acwraith
:thumb54000333: The Magic of the Lake 2 by FarStar90
Deep Dreams by Alan-Eichfeld sandstone table by sassaputzin
The Infinite by MarcAdamus Cello Concerto by engrafico
Rocks in Twilight by engrafico Rocks and Clouds by engrafico
Green Flash by engrafico La Jolla Sunset by engrafico
Crystal Cove 2 by LarryGorlin The blue sapphire III by ChristineAmat
:thumb73974880: Burning Rain by Luke-ro
The Simple Life by CuriousCorn 1000 words by AndyMumford



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trlight Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2011
well I might as well join in on the list of watchers. Your an awesome photographer and have a really good idea of how to use light.
Achen089 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2009   Traditional Artist
Astonoshing gallery,your photos are so very beautiful!
LoRiBoX Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2009
:wave: Thanks for fave :ahoy:
afmrp Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2009  Hobbyist Interface Designer
:wave: Hey!!!!!!! How are you my sweet friend :) I was inactive :D Hope that you are well ;)
maticgolob Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
you have a fantastic gallery:heart:
TheWindWraith Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2009
You have a beautiful gallery! I really enjoyed looking through it. Keep it up :)
psychoticfeather Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2009   Photographer
I really love your photos! I wish mine were half as good as yours.
RapeCake Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2008
Absolutely stunning gallery.
Kernow-Photography Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Great gallery :)
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