Tilt shift 101

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No, they’re not broken. But your wallet will be after buying a set.

One of the most frequent things I get asked about is the use of tilt shift lenses; it isn’t surprising given the apparent complexity of the hardware and lack of any clearly understandable documentation or literature. There are plenty of good technical explanations of movements, but often they leave the reader more confused than when they started especially if you do not have a background in optics! This article will therefore aim to address the whole question of camera movements in as straightforward a manner as possible – necessitating some simplifications. Read on if you’ve ever been bothered by insufficient (or too much) depth of field, or geometric conversion of verticals with a wide angle…

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On not being a photographer

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Red drapes. This post is quite deliberately illustrated with images from times when a) I wasn’t actively shooting or looking for images, and b) have been rather thankful to have a camera of any sort on me.

I struggled a little with the title for this essay. In essence, how many times have you found yourself without the primary aim of photography, but still shooting anyway – or worse, wishing you could be? The kinds of situations I’m talking about are when your primary purpose isn’t photography. You’ve gone out to run some errands, or fulfil family obligations, or rush to some work-related meeting (assuming photography isn’t your primary occupation). But these are the times you inevitably come across that interesting patch of light, that unexpected scene, or just…something that makes you pause and wish you didn’t have to be somewhere in the next ten minutes. Then what?

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One place left for the Tokyo Masterclass from 9-14 November

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Shibuya, Tokyo:  best suited to cinematic, urban, architecture and street; (more examples of what you might capture are here, here and here) think this is probably the best season to visit Tokyo – the trees are bright orange, the light is angled, and you’ve missed the grey winters, the cherry-blossom chasing hoardes, and the typhoons of summer.

Due to a last minute cancellation, I have one place left for the Tokyo Masterclass from 9-14 November. Click here for more details and to book, more details after the break.

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The Idea of Man, a virtual exhibition

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Welcome to The Idea of Man – a virtual exhibition, for all of you who are unable to visit the physical one at The Rangefinder Gallery in Chicago. It runs until 31 October 2015. I owe Dan Tamarkin of Tamarkin Camera a massive round of thanks for putting it all together and sharing his space – please drop by while it’s still up.

Here we go.

Note: for the benefit of those who prefer no captions, I’ve left them in only if you click through to the images on flickr. The narrative however, is important.

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Photoessay: Tokyo architecture mono, mid 2015

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To infinity

Today’s photoessay is a very limited architectural snapshot from Tokyo. I’m there roughly once a year, but the place changes so often that there’s always something new (and usually unrecognisable) from visit to visit. That is of course a very good reason to go back. This set is in monochrome I suppose as sort of contrarian approach to something constantly changing – monochrome still life or landscape tends to invoke something timeless rather than temporal; perhaps change is timeless. MT

This set was shot with a Nikon D810 and D750 and processed with techniques covered in the Monochrome Masterclass and PS Workflow II videos.you can also travel vicariously to Japan with How To See Ep.2: Tokyo.

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On Assignment: the International Lutheran Seafarers’ Mission

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In the second half of 2014, I was hired for a rather unusual documentary assignment. Amongst very many other things, the German Lutheran Church runs an international mission for seafarers around the world, with various stations and representative pastors in major ports. For their 2014 annual report (yes, I know it’s 2015 – I just haven’t had a chance to write and post up til now), they decided to produce a story on this as one of their featured activities. Even more unusually, rather than choosing a major home port such as Hamburg, the story was focused on Asia – the port of Singapore, to be specific. It’s not too far from Kuala Lumpur, so I got on an airplane. The report has obviously now been published, and I’m free to post the write up.

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Photoessay: Hong Kong Urbanscapes II

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Following on from the previous photoessay, I’d like to present part two as a counterpoint – both visual and metaphorical. Whereas the previous photoessay was semi-decay and urban wear and tear, this series of images is the shiny, soulless face of modernity. We are still devoid of humans because the environment has almost become inhumanly clinical, yet somehow there remains a sort of stark beauty in what is left behind. Enjoy the idealised utopia!

This series was shot with a Leica Q and processed with Photoshop Workflow II.

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Flying as a photographer, redux

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I spend a lot of time on airplanes. Probably too much; even more than when I was a Powerpoint monkey. And in that time, I think I’ve collected enough wisdom and experience that some of you in the audience might find it useful – especially if it isn’t your day job, travelling to shoot is a rare luxury. The last thing you want to have are either nasty surprises with airlines or the anxiety of missed opportunities…so here are a few useful tips.

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Reminder: “The Idea of Man” opening, Oct 2 at the Rangefinder Gallery, Chicago

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Endless possibilities of the imagination – from The Idea of Man

Today’s post is a gentle reminder for the opening party for my exhibition “The Idea of Man”, at 6pm on Friday 2 October at the Rangefinder Gallery at Tamarkin Camera, Chicago. The exhibition itself runs from October 2-31 and is open to the public. In answer to many queries, they are almost all Ultraprints and they will be for sale in small editions. See you all there! MT

Photoessay: Hong Kong Urbanscapes I

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I Maze

Ranging from the shiny and complete to the decrepit and the transformation process that takes place in between, today’s photoessay is a deliberately dehumanised look at the the urban landscape. It is a series that intentionally feels both cold and evokes a little deus ex machina feeling – actually not so easy to accomplish in a place like Hong Kong where it is usually impossible to achieve an image without some humans in it! MT

This series was shot with a Leica Q and processed with Photoshop Workflow II.

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