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‘Keep the horizon straight’ is one of the important composition rules in photography where the horizon has to be kept parallel to the horizontal side of the frame. Similarly keeping the vertical lines parallel to vertical side of frame creates a balance in the image, there are perspective control (PC) lenses also known as Tilt & Shift lenses which help in overcoming the problem of converging verticals.
A slight tilt is considered as a mistake but an intentional tilt, a deliberate slant where degree of tilt is quite high is the Dutch Tilt or Dutch Angle. Not to be confused with the country Holland or Netherlands, the term ‘Dutch’ originates from ‘Deutsch’ meaning German. So basically Dutch Tilt, Dutch Angle and German Angle are same and used very often in cinematography.
In this technique the camera is set at an angle similar to tilted head where horizon is not parallel to the bottom of the frame. By using the line dynamics, a drama is created in the scene and causes an uneasiness or tension. The eyes, used to seeing the symmetry and balance, notice the drastic change in perspective of the subject.
Using diagonals while composing changes the scene from one point perspective to two point perspective, the subject looks three dimensional. Here either the subject is turned around or camera is moved to see the depth in the subject. In Dutch Tilt, the camera is set at an angle on its roll axis making the lines appear diagonal instead of parallel to the sides of the frame. The angle is quite unique and make a tremendous impact on the viewer and can also lead to abstraction from a definite form or shape. Besides catching the attention, the angle can make the viewer think about the subject and interpret in own way.
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Photography is witnessing a total overhaul, evolution or transformation are mild words to describe this phenomenon. Twenty first century brought digital technology in the lives of photographers but the acceptance was gradual, it almost took 6-7 years for traditional photographers to move from film to digital. Post processing became an integral part of image creation and has resulted in over dependence on editing softwares. What was possible with extensive lighting setups can easily be replicated with a few clicks on computer.
Shifting from film to digital faced a lot of resistance, the initial technology was not fully developed, there were image quality issues and most importantly photographers had invested heavily in the equipment and early digital cameras were expensive. By the time digital technology became stable, sensors started producing excellent images and camera prices came down, another technology revolution was in pipeline.
Camera in phone brought a whole new perspective in the field of photography, every one with phone could click pictures. Number of photographs clicked everyday now exceed the number of photographs clicked in first hundred years of introduction of photography. A good camera in a phone is a major selling point for the phone manufacturers, self portraits or selfies helped the cause of democratisation of photography.
At present, photography has become totally technology driven, lot of innovations are taking place both in hardware and software. Advanced sensors which are smaller in size combined with fast processors driven by intelligent software are able to produce brilliant results which are comparable to high end cameras. Mirrorless cameras have brought down the size of the camera and allowed shooting at higher fps (frames per second).
Few years back Lytro brought a whole new technology introducing a new way of focusing, it allows choosing a point of focus at the time of editing. It was supposed to be a game changer but didn’t really catch the fancy of photographers. Not considering the sales figures of the camera, the innovation is commendable. Changing focus points can alter the story in a photograph and bring out better imagination and creativity.
Dual lenses (not front & rear cameras) in phone were introduced in the recent past but to introduce 16 lenses in a compact phone, the Light L16, is surely a stroke of genius. This opens up a lot of new possibilities as far as imaging is concerned, it is revolutionary. Over a period of time, considering the speed in which technology is changing, multiple lenses in a phone camera can become an essential feature in the future.
Besides the hardware improvements, photography is becoming more dependent on softwares, the algorithms. Manipulation of images in the camera itself before or after clicking is another area where immense progress is happening. Uploading the photographs on computer and sharing will be a thing of past soon. The smart devices with extra smart cameras will do the job perfectly from clicking, advanced editing to sharing and storing in the cloud.
For a traditional photographer this could be a scary situation where technology is fast taking over the human skills but at the end of the day, no technology can ever replace the eye behind the camera. The art of visual story telling will never change in spite of all the technological advancements after all photography is more about sensitivity and aesthetics than the camera. As Ansel Adams had quoted ‘ You don’t take a photograph, you make it’ .
© Ravi Dhingra 2017
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