Photographer Recycles Broken Lens, Shoots Tilt Shift Images with It

DIY tilt shift

Tilt-shift effects are achieved either in camera, using a special and often pricey lens, or digitally using Photoshop. The process in Photoshop is not complex and can be done in as briefly as one minute. There are even some iPhone apps for the effect. The only question is, how convincingly can it be done? Not just any photo can qualify for tilt shift manipulation and the tilt shift post processing procedure must be done correctly for convincing results. Tilt-Shift photography is often used for miniature faking, and is a creative technique wherein a photograph of a life-size location or object is tweaked to provide an optical illusion of viewing a photograph of a miniature scale model.

Changing the focus of an image in Photoshop creates a shallow depth of field normally created with macro lenses, making the illusion that a scene seems much smaller than it really is. Besides focus manipulation, the tilt-shift photography effect is enhanced by intensifying color contrast and saturation, to replicate the bright paint typically on scale models.

tilt shift photo

The majority of phony tilt-shift photographs are shot from a high angle for additional simulation of the effect of looking down on a miniature. The technique is mostly effective on cars, buildings, trains and people. Now having said all that, here’s an unorthodox way of doing it, as exemplified by a certain witono. Read about how he achieves his tilt-shift effect.

tilt shift photography

“The Canon 50mm 1.8 is known to be very fragile – usually breaking into several components if dropped. I wanted to make a DIY tilt-shift project and asked on the forum for a broken 50mm on sale. I got mine for S$25; the rest is history.Tilt-shift is a special type of lens usually used for architectural photography. Many have however used the lens for a miniature effect because it changes the plane of focusing. Usually professional tilt-shift lens can easily cost more than one grand for the mechanics and precision optics. However, a homemade version can be done with less than US$20”

aerial city tilt shift

Viewing his images, it is practically impossible to tell that it is a makeshift, DIY method being used. It’s been said before, but never underestimate the ingenuity of a creative photographer. See the entire process, done step-by-step in the video below.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I’m talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.