Good Use Of Lens Tilt

Some times we find a composition that we really love but circumstances require the most peculiar tripod setup and a very uncomfortable body position. Nobody said that a landscape photographer's job is easy, but it can deliver some very desirable results

No matter what time of year or what time of day you visit Holy island in Northumberland of England, the fact is, there will be photographers around and they will be busy. This is because there is a huge variety of subjects lying around and, of course, the backdrop of Lindisfarne Castle completes the picture.

Yes, there is a huge variety of subjects around, however, it can potentially be a very hard job to isolate specific subjects and create beautiful images in a simplified way.

Another problem is that almost everything on the island has been photographed many times before. It can be strenuous to create something a bit different, unique, something that will have your own signature.

Creating the picture

There are at least a dozen boats scattered around on the grassy area of the harbour. Some of them are plastic with no character, some of them are made of wood and display a much more detailed picture of their past.

The challenge is to avoid distractions and choose only a few or even one of the boats for your composition. I liked this set up as the boat in the centre is the right way up, whereas the ones before and after have been turned upside down. The challenge was to find the perfect height and the perfect angle. In doing so, I would have enough separation between the main boat and the ones around it.

I ended up with one of the tripod legs on the foreground boat, and one of my legs on it also. I used a tilt/shift lens and added some tilt to achieve a good depth of field and to keep front to back sharpness. I also shifted the lens to keep distortion to its minimum. To achieve all this I used a black cloth to isolate the environment and eliminate all light sources from hitting the LCD screen on the back of the camera. Having your head under a black cloth while looking at Live View on the camera’s screen helps immensely with composition, focusing and exposure. My black cloth is actually a black T-shirt that I always carry in my backpack.

Finally, I wanted to use a 5x4 vertical format. I have said before that this is my most favourite formats and I love to use it for my compositions. The reason is that although you retain a sensible height, you also have a slightly wider view than 3x2, and this allows for a broader content to be included in the frame.

After a few final tweaks and examination of sharpness throughout the entire frame, there was simply nothing left but to trigger the shutter.

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