I didn’t know what tilt-shift meant until about a week ago. I asked Sam, she explained in a nutshell, I researched the rest and then I experimented. The easiest way to explain tilt-shift? Keep part of the photo sharp and blur the rest. And this really goes beyond twiddling with the aperture value. Pretty neat, actually. If you search Google for images using “tilt-shift” as a key phrase, you’ll see a gallery of amazing photos using the technique.
When I was reading about tilt-shift photography, I felt overwhelmed by the technical jargon. Suffice to say that there are lenses made specifically for tilt-shift photography and then there’s post-processing (via digital photo editors) that simulate real tilt-shift photography. And, in between, there’s the Lensbaby.
I don’t have a tilt-shift lens — the Lensbaby isn’t a real tilt-shift lens — and the only way I can play with tilt-shift is via post-processing. I do this with Snapseed. Compare the images above and below. They are exactly the same photo except that the one above was post-processed to simulate a tilt-shift effect. The upper half was blurred while the bottom half was kept sharp to draw the eyes to the reflection of the trees on the water. It is by no means the best illustration of the technique but, hey, I’m just starting to learn it.