Tilt-shift and time-lapse

Once again I fail to provide anything profoundly new or original here: I found this on BuzzFeed, but I hope to add some value to the extent that I can supplement what you’re seeing with my own witty commentary, and I’m assembling items from a few separate pages that took me some time to find, but now they’re in one place for your convenience.

The topic of the day is the wonderful tilt-shift, time-lapsed videos of Australian photographer Keith Loutit. Tilt-shift is a photographic technique that is a popular trend these days, wherein some sort of focal adjustment (beyond my knowledge of the technical aspects of photography) is used to bring sharp focus to a particular portion of the photo, while blurring the background. The resulting effect is that the objects in the photo look miniaturized. I think this is a learned response we have to these photos, because we’re used to this focal effect occurring naturally when a macro lens is used to photograph actual miniatures up-close.

Whatever the cause for our perception of the photos, the effect is undeniably cool. Here’s one of my favorite examples:

Time-lapse photography is a much more familiar (and much older) technique, wherein individual frames are shot at specified intervals (say, one per minute), then played back at regular motion-picture speed, to allow the viewer to perceive very slow changes (such as the blooming of a flower) in a comparatively short period of time.

Put these techniques together, though, overlay a wicked techno soundtrack, and you’ve got pure genius. Here are two examples from Keith Loutit’s website:

This one is cool to me because it features the Circular Quay region of Syndey, Australia, home of the famous Sydney Opera House. I spent a few days in this area around Christmas of 1995 and it has always stood out in my mind. It’s great to see one of my favorite spots on the planet in a whole new way. (Now, if only I could be sipping a nice chilled Victoria Bitter as I watch it…)

This is the video that was featured on BuzzFeed, and was my introduction to Keith’s work. I was a bit surprised to see that he was in Australia — I didn’t realize Brisbane was so redneck (googling the phrase “Brisbane redneck” yields only this, which just leads back to us anyway) — although it explained why the chalk-paint flags on the dirt track were U.S. and Australian instead of U.S. and Canada. (For those who have not had the unique pleasure of attending a monster truck event, apparently here in the U.S. they always involve an absurd trumped-up rivalry between the U.S. and Canada.) Anyway — this piece is absolutely brilliant.

You can read more about — and see more examples of — tilt-shift photography at Cheapshooter. Also be sure to check out the Keith Loutit PhotoBlog.