Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tilt Shifting

So lately I've been thinking about experimentation. That's the beautiful thing about having an "off-season" so-to-speak (which really it is not, because there are all kinds of things to do behind the scenes that there isn't time for during the on-season)...things are quiet enough that you can actually think and dream and come up with new things to get into. So I've been thinking about the new things I want to explore and I think I've finally settled on two (from a list of, like, a million...having such a huge list makes me so indecisive!). Polaroid and video.

I have a weakness for all forms of analog photography...especially the kind of photography you make with cameras that are not meant to create perfect, tack-sharp pictures. There's something I love about not knowing exactly how the picture is going to turn out and the surprise of looking at the finished product. A lot of times there are some very happy accidents that are a once-in-a-lifetime creation...like a limited edition. I'm debating which model of vintage polaroid to buy (SX-70 or a model that takes the kind of instant film that Fuji still makes), but I can't wait to have one to play with. And maybe, if the experiments go well, I'll incorporate it into portrait sessions later this year. How fun would that be?

And after watching this video about beautiful things several times on repeat, I have a newfound love of the medium. I'm digging the swirl of the colors, the sway of the motion. And I'm terrified of it. I have no clue how it works (it can't be just as simple as pointing a camera at something that moves, can it? What about things that don't move? How do you know where to move the camera?), I'm pretty sure I'll be awful at it, and for that reason alone, I'm jumping in. Do one thing a day that scares you, right?

So today I made my first little video about my tilt shift lens...another experiment that has gone oh-so-right. I'm obsessed. Truly. If I only had one lens to take with me everywhere, my Lensbaby Spark would be it. The lens is plastic, and it focuses manually when you push on it and tilt it. Like really manually...you are literally using your hands to put your subject in focus. It was a gift from my mom, and it creates the most wonderful blur, similar to the kind you get when you use a really wide aperture (big opening) in a normal lens, but there's an extra kick of awesomesauce mixed in. Things just look more dreamy and surreal, but not completely obscure, and I LOVE it (you can see a bunch of photos that I took with it in this post).

But the video...have you heard of Vine? It's like instagram for videos. Five different people that I know and love mentioned it on Facebook within 24 hours, so it was never a question of if I'd be joining, but when. If you don't know what it is yet, it's basically a social media service that allows you to post 6 second videos (and when you view them in Vine, they loop...which can be awesome or annoying depending on how you look at it). Which means loads of videos of my cats. And, of course, Aslan makes a special appearance in this one.

So here's my first little video attempt:

If you're on Vine...let's be friends! I'm @Anna Reynal. And I'd love to know...what are you experimenting with that scares you?


  1. Hey Anna, I've always wanted to try out a lensbaby but I just haven't gotten around to it. It's funny that you just posted on this subject though b/c I just bought an old yashica twins reflex lens camera to try out some medium format film. Like you said, its the "not knowing" surprise factor that makes it so fun.

    as for polaroid, i know with a lot of medium format film cameras you can get a polaroid back that you can use the fuji instant film on. if my medium format experiment works out i might give one of those a try.

    1. ooo joel...that sounds fun! can't wait to see what kinds of pics you get from the yashica! the tilt-shift lens that i have up there is so affordable, it would be easy to try it out without having to make a huge investment. if you are interested, photojojo sells it (and i have an unhealthy addiction to them too!).

      good luck with your experiments!