Tilt-Shift and Macro Stories

While the ICM shots were an unintended (if you pardon the pun) bonus, I headed to Bernwood Forest primarily to test the PC-E lens with some straightforward, less “arty” shots.


Here is one which is a great technical success.  I attempted this same kind of shot a couple of months back with a standard macro lens, and the stacking defeated me.




Nikon D800E/85PC-E/Lee 105cpl

ISO 100 1.6” f/16, tilted


It is, I think, a study in beautiful autumnal tones and textures.


It does, though, have its limitations as a shot.  It’s a classic tilt-shift, but it’s a bit like a product shot – it’s basically descriptive: there’s really little by way of mystery.


As usual at the end of a year, people tend to take stock, and I’ll use the opportunity over the next few posts up until the end of the month to self-reflect about where I’ve got to in my photographic journey.


I’m now pretty much at the stage where, given a modicum of thought, I can take technically very good photographs using a range of techniques and focal lengths.


What I’m less consistent at is the more nuanced aspect of photography – the story-telling side; with macro, I’m very much interested in defamiliarization: when you get really close to a small subject it’s quite easy to render it in a new and arresting way; what I need to work on a little more is the narrative side of my shots, especially when I’m out of my macro comfort-zone (and even here things can be less than straightforward at times – for instance, it’s really very difficult in deed to take really imaginative shots of butterflies that go beyond descriptive/field-guide quality, or avoid the usual clichés of early-morning dew encrusting).


I suppose there are a number of obvious ways forward, which I should try more with, driving myself to experiment, as I have been in fact doing this past week.


Things to do include: making light / aperture choices / compositions / filters /exposure lengths do more work.


But I think a basic rule of thumb is to simplify: to add interest, and mystery – working to deliberately mix abstraction and description together.


Let’s see how I get on…


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