The other day, on January 1st, I went out shooting with as small cadre of great photographers around New York City. We didn’t have much of an agenda when we started on Essex Street in the Lower East Side. I strapped on my Canon 14mm prime lens and resolved to use it as the only lens for the day. I wanted to see how much fun I could have with the linear distortion that this lens is famous for.
After about an hour of roaming the streets, we decided to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge. Whenever visitors come to NYC and we go shooting, I usually opt to cross the iconic Brooklyn Bridge because of how gorgeous it is. The Williamsburg Bridge is certainly more of a utility player here. Not much in terms of aesthetics – it just faithfully serves its purpose of allowing commuters to cross from one borough to another.
About halfway through, the bridge forks into two primary paths. My original knee-jerk reaction was to shoot this head-on. That’s how I started my frame and almost as quickly got back up and walked away. There was nothing to it. It was so boring. I wanted to change the frame up a bit to add something more dynamic, incentivizing the eye to follow through.
Enter our friend, the Dutch Tilt. A quick Google search will give you an idea of how the Dutch Tilt can be used – or overused. Like anything in life, it’s good to enjoy in moderation (leave your HDR is the devil comments at the door, though :) ). I felt that, by tilting the lens counterclockwise just a bit, the scene became that much more interesting. Since I was going for distortion, I wasn’t fazed by the lack of perfectly rectilinear lines. I also liked that I could terminate the arm bar onto the lower left corner of the frame. I love doing that.
In terms of overall processing
This is a nine exposure tone-mapped HDR image, processed in #Photomatix. I had to tone-map here because there was a huge amount of dynamic range that exceeded the capabilities of a single RAW file. Doing so allowed me to preserve highlight detail and also keep the darker shadow detail. I added a series of effects from Perfect Effects 3 to stylize and created a shallow depth of field using FocalPoint 2.
When I returned to Lightroom, I used an adjustment brush to bring out the detail and gamma of the pedestrian icons on the ground by boosting clarity and brightness. I also added some saturation to the yellow lines and grate using another adjustment brush.
So there you have it. And with that, I ask – what is your thought on using a Dutch Tilt?Share it out.
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