I took the plunge a few weeks ago and entered the world of tilt and shift camera lenses. If you’re not familiar with them, the tilt and shift functions of these otherwise standard prime (fixed focal length) lenses have the added benefit of allowing for perspective control and a greater depth of field than can be achieved with regular lenses. They’re used a great deal by architectural photographers, but in my case I’m interested in the additional clarity they can bring to landscapes.
I’ve used the lens a few times now, and it’s terrific. A little fiddly, but terrific. Plus, it has the great advantage of slowing me down: it has to be fine-tuned manually, so there’s no chance for a quick snap and, by extension, it allows more time for me to decide if a composition is worthwhile or not. Mind you, that extra time can have its down side, as I’ve found a couple of times recently as unexpectedly large waves have caught me out while fine-tuning (note to all photographers: keep your bag on your back or high up the beach, otherwise, disaster awaits!).
This slowing down is something I’m trying to do a bit more right now, so using the lens is almost a metaphor (ok, a tenuous one for the purposes of this blog, but…) for life in general. I need to fine-tune things, slow down and better understand the technical details. Much as I traded in an old lens to buy the tilt shift in order to take sharper photographs, I’m trading my day job now for a period away from the rat race, which I hope will be slower but ultimately better quality than the one I’ve been living. I haven’t made any plans for what comes next, but I’m trying to embrace the uncertainty for a change and not fret too much about not knowing what comes next. However, I do plan to devote as much time to photography, and to visit some places that have so far eluded me.
The tilt and shift lens as a metaphor for life: who’d have thought?