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Join photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long on location in San Francisco as he explores the creative options provided by the kinds of lenses and lens accessories that don't always make it into most camera bags.
The course begins with a look at several common and inexpensive lens attachments, from polarizers to neutral density filters. The course then explores ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses as well as ultra-long telephoto and macro lenses. The course concludes with a look at tilt-shift lenses, which are useful for architectural photography and special effects, and at offbeat lenses, such as Lensbaby and Holga attachments.
The course also contains Photoshop postproduction advice and examples that illustrate the creative possibilities that an expanded lens collection provides. And because some specialty lenses are extremely expensive, the course also contains advice on renting gear.
In the last movie, you saw how you can use a tilt-shift lens to greatly decrease depth of field. We used it to create a toy effect. You can also use it for more practical things. You can use it for throwing backgrounds out very easily, to create really shallow depth of field effects. We're going to do the opposite here. We're going to use it to expand the depth of field. Now, you can't use it to expand depth of field in just any situation, but you can in a situation like this, where your camera is at an angle to your focal plane. So take a look at what we have got here.
If I look through my camera, I see that I have these two lenses. This lens up here is out of focus and so is that one. So I'm going to start by focusing my lens here, and I'm going to focus on this frontmost lens. So, again, this is a tilt-shift lens, so it's manual. So I'm just working until that's in focus. It looks like it is. Now, look at the lens in the background, the long telephoto lens. It's still out of focus. I could possibly try to get it in focus through a depth of field--through an aperture change to get more depth of field, but it's awfully dark in here, and it's actually going to be easier to do this with a simple tilt.
So as you saw in--when we were reducing depth of field, if I tilt this way, I can make depth of field more shallow and now that far lens is going even further out of whack. If I go to the other way though, just a tiny, little adjustment, I can bring that far lens into focus. Now if you look at the front lens, it's still in focus as well, so I've got this tremendous depth of field here. Now, I have made slight changes to the proportions of the image. Let me go back to where we were before.
You can see that there is a little bit of stretching going on, but I don't feel like it's egregious. It's not really changing the shape of the objects. It's not changing the relationships of the objects too much. It is changing some of the composition. Look at how far the upper lens is from the top of the frame here and when I correct the depth of field, it's moving closer to the top of the frame. Now, in this case, obviously this is just a kind of a dumb experimental setup so composition isn't that critical. But if it really was, if I wanted to keep it as far from the top of the frame as it was before, then I could just employ a shift.
I can now use my shift control there to bring it back down and now I've got the composition that I had before, with deeper depth of field. There's been a little bit of perspective change, but I'm not worried about that. I like this extra focus that I've got. Now, this doesn't work if I am pointing the camera at an object and I've got another object behind it. In other words, if I'm perpendicular to the focal plane, I can't expand depth of field. So I can't have someone up here at a distant object and manage to get them both into focus. This is, again, for times when you have got your camera at an angle to your plane of focus.
So obviously, it's great for shooting a couple of lens on a tabletop and I understand that that might not be something that you do that often. But you might be a landscape shooter. You might actually often stand on a tremendously broad plane with your camera angled a little bit down. Sometimes with a tilt-shift lens in that situation, you are going to be able to get deeper depth of field than you would be able to with a simple aperture change, particularly if your aperture change requires you to go down to an aperture like 16 or higher, which would result in your overall image being sharpened because of diffraction artifacts.
So it's a trade-off. This is a heavy lens to carry. Another thing about sharpness in a landscape photo is you definitely want the foreground sharp because that's going to be large in your print. If your distant background is a little soft, you may not be able to see it. So sometimes sharpness in a landscape photo isn't as critical or super-deep depth of field isn't as critical as you think it is. If it is for you though, and if you know it is, if you know your printing is going to require it, then a tilt-shift lens is probably a better way to go to get that super-deep depth of field than just relying on a really small aperture.
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