The Sandpit / Sam O’Hare

And last, but certainly not least, here is my favorite video that employs the use of tilt/shift. The Sandpit by Sam O’Hare is pretty much just like Coachelletta (or rather Coachelletta is just like The Sandpit seeing as how The Sandpit came first), but instead of being set at a music festival in Indio, CA, it is set in the everyday of New York, NY. I think it’s the combination of the use of water, the hustle of the traffic, and the amazing architecture of NYC that make me like The Sandpit just a little bit more. Also, the construction zones remind me of my Tonka Trucks I had as a kid. Enjoy.


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Coachelletta / Sam O’Hare

Okay, so I’ve talked about a couple of videos for a while now but haven’t really done anything about it. Well… here it is. This video, Coachelletta, is… well… it’s just plain awesome. I mean, it’s kind of hard to explain the thing using other, lesser words. Just… take a look at it. You’ll enjoy this, I think.


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Applications /

Alright, so it’s about time that I actually talk about how this stuff works – the ways it’s used, the desired effects, how it is accomplished, etc. So let’s get on with it.

The first application of tilt/shift I’m going to talk about is the shift feature of the lens. This is a feature that is often used in photographing architecture (both the inside and the outside of buildings in most cases). You see, whenever most of us go on vacation and take the token me-or-someone-I-know-standing-in-front-of-this-famous-building-in-the-background photo we often try to get as much of the building in the frame as possible. This requires us to tilt the camera up, and this creates a distortion with the building – the sides of the building angle in and give it a pyramid-like effect. Now, unless your vacation is to Egypt and you’re photographing actual pyramids (or you’re in front of the Transamerica building), you probably don’t want this to happen to your memories.

This is where the shifting feature of the lens comes in handy. To correct this undesirable effect all you need do is… that’s right, say it with me… shift the lens. Very good. Here’s the concept.

Simple, right?





















But incase you still don’t really understand whats going on here –  incase you’re like me – here are a few examples of this application that aren’t made of little lines and diagrams.

See how the image on the right seems to be falling backwards?









And again, here. See how the building on the left seems to be falling away from us? Alright, time enough for one more.

This one pretty much says it all. I'm useless now.











Alright, so now that we all pretty much understand how this whole shifting thing works, lets talk about the second application of tilt/shift lenses, the tilt function. This is a feature that allows the photographer to tilt the plane of focus in practically any direction. It is commonly seen in landscape photography – when a photographer uses a regular wide angle lens to capture a scenic frame it is often extremely difficult (if not impossible) to get items in the foreground and the background in focus at the same time. This is where the tilting action comes into play. By tilting the lens and altering the plane of focus it is possible for the photographer to produce and image that is in focus from foreground to background. Usually, from what I’ve read, you are supposed to focus on the background first and then tilt the lens down until the foreground is in focus. Here are some examples.

See how (in the first frame) the background is in focus but not the foreground, then (in the second frame) the foreground is in focus but the background is out, and then (in the third frame) both are in focus? Crazy, right? Here’s another.

Same thing as the previous set. Background, foreground, both. But this technique isn’t just reserved for landscape photographers. It also has a place in product advertisement. If a product is being photographed for an advertisement and it is positioned in such a way that it is too large to get completely in focus (insert penis jokes here), a tilt/shift lens has the ability to tilt the plane of focus. Let’s take a look at some before and afters.

Here is an image in which the lens hasn’t been tilted:

See how the back half of the wheel is kind of in focus (only because there is a large depth of field due to a high f-stop) but not really completely crisp? Well here’s that same angle but taken after the lens has been tilted to control the plane of focus.

BLAM! Look at that! That’s crisp right there. Anyway, as you can see there are plenty of cool reasons to pick yourself up a tilt/shift lens (providing you already have a good camera with which you take loads of photos, and are really pissed off with the not-entirely-in-focus unintentional-pyramid-action you’ve got going on at the moment).

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Sound / Scape

Alright, so I wasn’t really sure what I should do for a soundscape-type-deal for photography. All I could really think of was some sort of sound collage made from camera sounds, and an added city soundscape seeing as how tilt/shift is often used in urban settings for either miniature art or architectural photography.

Here is what I came up with.


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Info / Graphics

Okay, so here’s a little info graphic I did. I figured that, since this is a photography blog (of sorts), I’d get some info on large cities and see how often they are tagged in photos.

Amazingly cheesy, isn't it? I mean.... just look at the color scheme.

So the info is taken from Flickr’s all time most popular tags (via a post on It was originally the top 10 most photographed, but because of perspective troubles and not being able to read the names of cities #9 & #10 I had to edit it down to the top 8 most photographed/tagged cities.

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Bonus / Logo!

Here’s another little thing I did for this project before I fully understood the assignment.

This one’s actually got a little bit of color. Hope you enjoy it!

The idea behind this was to do a logo without any vowels kind of like MSTRKRFT (Masterkraft) and MGMT (The Management). I just thought it would be fun to do. And yes, the “L” is tilted.

As always, let me know what you think.

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Logos /

So here are a few things I drew up in Adobe Illustrator to possibly be logos for the blog.

I like the font I chose for my initials, but what I like even more about it is the fact that I connected the letters together in an interesting way. The circular thing is supposed to be like looking down the lens of a camera. Unfortunately, I didn’t do very well with making a camera lens. I decided to insert “RKE PHOTOGRAPHY” around the outside rim because camera lenses always have little white markings on them. I had to make the “final” logo in black and white because I’m not that great at Adobe Illustrator and I couldn’t capture the glossy coloration of the actual lens.

Anyway, let me know what you think.

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Slide / Show

Here’s a friendly little slide show of a few little tilt/shift images I happen to find quite interesting.

 Just click on the images to advance them faster.

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Shot / One

So here’s a quick little attempt I made at creating a tilt/shift-ish photo.

First attempt at tilt/shift via Photoshop

So pretty much all I did was this: I created a quick mask, used the gradient tool (foreground to background) to select a portion of the image I wanted to be in focus, and then applied a lens blur to the top and bottom of the image. After that, I had to blur the tops of the buildings a bit with the blur tool. It was pretty simple, pretty quick, and ultimately didn’t really work all that well. I’m sure there are ways to do this better – like maybe cutting up the image into multiple layers and blurring them individually possibly, I dunno – and I plan on reading some more in depth tutorials so I can possibly produce a more professional-looking product at the end of it all.

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The / Sandpit

Here are a couple of pictures from what is currently my favorite example of tilt/shift photography.

A still image from Sam O'Hare's "The Sandpit."

In my opinion, Sam O’Hare’s The Sandpit is the perfect combination (sort of, you’ll see what I mean by that when I post the entire video later on) of two things I really enjoy: tilt/shift photography and stop motion animation.

A still frame from Sam O'Hare's "The Sandpit."

Though O’Hare doesn’t actually use a tilt/shift lens (all of his images are high resolution photos taken from high angles and processed in post production to produce the desired style. None are shot with an actual tilt/shift lens.) or stop motion animation (obviously, because these are real people and not little clay figurines. That’d be crazy though, right?) his projects exude the feeling of stop motion miniatures. I am certainly a fan of O’Hare’s unique style, and I’ll be trying to imitate his technique in the near future.

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