I had some fun today. It was a beautiful spring morning, and the parking lot at my building was mostly empty. I decided to play with my new car and my Hartblei Super-Rotator lens. I picked up this lens on eBay last year, but haven’t used it a lot. The Hartblei is an f/3.5 65mm tilt-shift lens that can rotate both tilt and shift segments 360 degrees. What does this mean? It basically means you can put together some pretty crazy focal planes.
Tilt-shift lenses are great at creating a “miniature” effect. It’s the perfect effect to make a fun statement about how small Pepper, my little MINI Cooper S is. I parked Pepper rakishly in the middle of the lot, and climbed the metal ladder to the roof of my building, because the tilt-shift miniature effect only really works if you’re shooting from a high angle.
Because the Hartblei is a completely manual lens, it doesn’t communicate with your camera body at all. The camera’s display told me that my aperture was f/00. I dialed in f/3.5 on the barrel of the lens, and then used the camera’s meter to determine the right shutter speed.
I shot a few different angles, experimenting with different combinations of tilt, shift, and rotation. I have to admit, it’s a bit hard for me to predict how the different tilts and shifts will affect the final image, but half the fun is in the trying.
In the end, I found the miniature effect to be pretty convincing. The unexpected planes of focus and unusual depth of field created some fascinating results, and made Pepper look like a die-cast metal toy.
I have some more examples of this miniature effect in my photos from the bell tower in Xi’an, China.
beauty. love how the lines complete the composition.
Everybody in the building has a day job, so I got to use their parking spots! 😛
I love tilt shift lenses and I love your car name .. if I had a mini I’d call her Totty!
Is “Totty” a British thing?
If I remember correctly, your parking lot had lots of trees around it. Playing around with these will make for some fun miniaturization!
Not enough trees and not in the right place for this shot. But, I will do something soon with miniaturization and different environmental stuff. I’ve got a vision in my head but need a location to shoot it.