Photoessay: A corrected perspective, part II

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Skyscraper evolution and streamer

Today’s photoessay is a continuation of the previous monochrome series of hand-held tilt shift work from Chicago; it is in color and I personally believe has a more immediate, present feel than the monochromes – hence the separate presentation. Enjoy! MT

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Water garden, Trump Tower pedestal

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Imagined completion (reflection)

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Hancock nights

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Cloud gate

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Impersonal nights

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An evolved mishmash of styles

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Tree-lined pathway


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  1. Mr. Thein, your photos are outstanding. Love to come to your blog weekly and catch up. Great work.

  2. That first photo is particularly great. My favorite in the series thus far. I think it would look great printed large and framed on my wall 🙂 Cheers Ming

  3. as a Chicago resident, I have to say these are very impressive.

  4. “An evolved mishmash of styles” is superb! Kudos, Ming!

  5. Hi Ming,
    You have a very consistent and recognizable visual, both in the colors and the BW versions, even between cameras. I think that’s very important for a commercial photographer and is proof that you probably have a very strict post-processing workflow.

    I was wondering if you sometimes diverge from this “Ming” look and create multiple versions of the same picture. Maybe oversatured/desaturated, warmer/colder versions, etc.

    I take photos primarily for myself but especially given the possibilities of raw processing sometimes have a hard time deciding on the look I want from a photograph and keep jumping back and forth in Lightroom and trying new things.

    Great set by the way.

    • No, because I know how I want it to look before I hit the shutter. It’s possible to make multiple versions that work, but if you have to experiment with processing to find the finished image, then the initial idea probably wasn’t strong enough to begin with. That, and I simply don’t have the time.

  6. In the picture Impersonal nights the darker building in the background is “bulged” towards the bottom, is the building built this way or some effect of tilt shift that I don’t understand?

  7. Is it just me — or does the tilt-shift approach used on tall structures seem to introduce a sort of “anti-perspective” bloom toward the top, despite the fact that the major vertical lines are kept in disciplined parallel?

    • It’s not just you…

    • It’s not just you, but note that this is nothing unique to a “tilt-shift approach”. The effect you’re seeing is a result of perspective distortion, simply caused by shooting close and wide (as such, you’ll notice that all of the photos that most display this “bloom” are all shot with the 24mm PC-E with moderate amounts of shift applied). Similar to how shooting a person’s portrait up close with a wide lens exaggerates their facial features, the building’s size and scale are being exaggerated. Same exact principle.

    • It can do that psychologically because we are used to seeing the convergence to some extent with our own eyes if we’re close enough to the base of the structure; it really depends on distance.

      • It must be that the “natural” convergence is anticipated but noted as not seen, therefore registered as odd.

        Popping a couple of vertical rules on the edges of the building in the last image, Tree-lined Pathway”, confirms everything is parallel. But the building looks to me as if it’s gradually swelling at the top. One might return in a day or two and find that it has burst its masonry bonds to stand revealed as a giant stalk of broccoli. None of the downward views suggest any distortion at all. I think I need a drink.

  8. Steve Jones says:

    Stunning images. I didn’t even know buildings could look THIS good. Outstanding sticker. Top of the class. And not only in color but GOOD color too!

  9. These all look I incredibly detailed on my ipad. I’m sure the files are great from the 810 but do you do anything special with them in terms of resizing, etc. so that they appear with such clarity and sharpness? Thanks

  10. All are outstanding, especially “Imagine completion”, it’s simply magical, congrats

  11. OMG ..I am totally nuts about the desaturated look you present here Ming. WOW … I don’t know what to say! But it is certainly a look I am trying to persue. It is painterly the way I would like to enterprete it. Beside that this set is mindblowing good photography. Congratulations.

    • It’s not quite desaturated, Gerner – more like restored to natural. The light during mid-morning was very ‘pale’, if you know what I mean – this is as close as I can get to recreating the feeling.

      • I might be guilty looking at a non-calibrated monitor right now. However I find the captures and post processing being well beyond world class. The taste for finess and tonality is your merit and signature.

  12. Chicago is a very cool town for architecture. Also worth seeing are the many Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan buildings as well as the two facing 100 foot high Gehry fountains in Millenium Park, which are computer-controlled color panels that show both abstract images and the faces of actual Chicago residents.

    • Absolutely – a walk through downtown is like a historical education. I loved it; got to see so many of those buildings that had been on my personal bucket list. Wasn’t quite sure what to make of the random face fountains, though.

  13. Gary Morris says:

    Superb work! Thanks for sharing. Color resonates better than b&w with these city images. One small technical question… your sharpness is exceptional… what f-stop do you typically consider your sweet spot?

    • Thanks. That isn’t an easy question to answer, because it depends on the lens in question – performance tends to vary with distance for all except the very best lenses. You also have to consider depth of field and diffraction/pixel pitch; with the 24PCE and D810 (in these images) it’s f5.6-11 at typical building distances. With the 645Z, it’s f5.6-13.

  14. Very inspirational, Ming! Wow.

  15. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I actually like the color ones more than the B&W ones. The first picture is just amazing, as is Cloud gate! How are the Ultraprintability of these photos?

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