Ever since I started toying around with faux tilt-shift effects in my photography I’ve been getting some questions about how I’m achieving the look.
Sadly, I don’t own a tilt-shift lens. They’re way too expensive for what a novelty they are. Someday, though.
I used to use Lensbabies, but their “sweet spot” isn’t quite the same as the flat plane of focus you get with a TS. They’re fun but, again, a novelty- and one that’s a little too much more work than it’s worth.
Then I tried freelensing, but as I noted in an earlier post, it freaked me out to have my camera exposed to the elements (pet dander is an element, right?).
For awhile I just made do with Photoshop’s Lens Blur plugin, but anyone who’s made serious use out of it will agree that it’s very slow when ran over larger files and it doesn’t do much more than just blur a shot rather than create convincing, varietal bokeh.
Lately, though, I’ve been playing with Alien Skin’s Bokeh 2 plugin. I absolutely love it. It’s kind of on the pricey side as far as software goes ($200…) but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to buying an actual TS lens for your dSLR ($1800+…).
The best thing about the plugin, besides the fact that it doesn’t cost $2,000, is that it doesn’t matter what lens you shoot with, you’ll always have the opportunity to run the plugin over it in post and achieve the TS effect.
I used it on these two photos of Felix that were shot back in Humboldt when he was free to roam through his kingdom instead of merely oversee it from his 3rd story prison cell.
It’s not that I can’t appreciate a photo with everything in focus, but sometimes things just get a little too crazy. This was one of those times. Felix was totally lost until I ran the Bokeh 2 plugin to create that sliver of focus that helps direct the eye towards him.
So, TS may or may not just be a passing craze (Hakuna Matata!) but like most fads, I think there’s certainly a time and a place for it.
Happy Almost Friday, guys! And to all who celebrate, I hope you have a Merry Christmas this weekend.
Lens: Vivitar 24mm f/2.8
Film: Unknown Slide Film
Actions: Rosewater, Simpler Simon
Available through K. Miller Actions.