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Greylingstad, Mpumalanga

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

Yesterday I photographed a coal mine near Greylingstad.

The idea is to photograph the progress of the construction. When I heard that I had been awarded the contract as well as a few interior and architecture assignments in the pipeline, I decided its time to invest in a tilt and shift lens, more specifically the Canon 24TS f3.5 L II. This is the second version of the lens and is a vast improvement over the first model.

I was drawn to this lens not only because of the tilt and shift capabilities but also because it was said to be Canon's sharpest lens. I am not sure if it is the 'sharpest' lens in Canon's wide angle arsenal but it sure is very very sharp right into the 'shifted' corners. Not only is it sharp but there is also very very little chromatic aberation and virtually no distortion. There is probably a little bit of distortion but I don't bother to correct for it anymore as it is very seldom visible.

So all in all superb technical quality lens...

Handling wise its rather big and heavy with a 82mm filter size. I have yet to get a filter for it, but my filter of choice, the Marumi uv is not available at my local supplier yet, but I will get one eventually and also a circular polarizing filter. I don't like using polarizing filters outdoors on wide angle lenses because I dislike deep blue polarized sky's' ( yes I know I am probably the only one!!) but also don't like the fact that with wide angle lenses one part of the sky is usually more polarized than the other which gives a very uneven blue sky. Indoors it works well photographing interiors because often its a good way to kill unwanted reflections, especially on shiny kitchen cupboards.

Its a manual focus lens and because its a wide angle and the detail is small in the viewfinder it can be a bit more difficult to get sharp focus. My Canon 5d2 has live view with 5x and 10x magnification and this works very well indoors and when its dark outdoors. Live view is very difficult in bright sunlight and almost useless under bright conditions. Yesterday on the mine it was overcast but mostly very bright and I couldn't see anything on my camera's lcd screen. I have been looking at lcd screen magnifyers, which works like a mini 'darkcloth' but I just havent found one yet that has a reasonable price and a diopter adjustment and magnifyer of some sort. Some of them also have a square magnet strip that fits around the lcd and then the hood 'clips' onto the magnet...but I am still looking...

There is just something satisfying about using a wellmade purpose build lens like the T/S. When my camera is on a tripod, a must for this lens, precise framing is a must, and with the T/S its as easy as pie...Virtually no cropping in post production is necessary, and when I have to its usually just because of the format that did not fit in with my 'vision'.

Photographing the mine was quite exhaustive and I wasnt all that happy because it was overcast and the light was just plain dull. Towards the afternoon things started to improve and the sky became quite dramatic. I was hoping to make some more images when it was quite dark but then it started to rain and still having a slippery dirt road to navigate before I hit the tar road, I decided to pack it in as home was still a good 2 hours drive away.

As soon as I got off the dirt road it stopped raining and before long I drove into Greylingstad. Everything was wet and the sky was dark with the streetlight on and the lights of the buildings and houses bright and yellow. It was that magical 'twilight' time of the evening when there is a balance between 'natural' skylight and 'man made' light.

I quickly stopped and put my camera with the T/S lens on my tripod. It was dark thus easy to focus via live view and after leveling the camera with my hot shoe mounted spirit level made some exposures. The first house was photographed at F5.6, the last f stop I had used at the mine, the camera remembers this, and I made a few exposures before I realized it and then stopped down to F11/f16. My exposures times ranged from half a second to 20 seconds as it got darker and I stopped down. Looking at the f5.6 exposures with some shift later back at home, I was pleasantly surprised at how sharp they were and how much depth of field I got. In fact I would quite happily shoot at f5.6 in future!

The funny thing is that when I got back home the scene that first attracted my eye was the one I had most difficulty in processing ito a satisfactorily 'look'. I just cant make up my mind how to process it and at the moment I prefer the B&W version....

These twilight images of a few structures in Greylingstad are the first personal images I have made with the T/S lens. I have made a ton of interior and architecture images but I always thought that the 24mm will be too wide for my personal 'vision'. I prefer the 35mm focal length and I like the fact that it is not overly wide but almost 'normal'...but looking at the images I made last night I am quite satisfied with their 'look' and I will definitely be exploring this focal length more...

So here are my images of my short time in Greylingstad last night, it took just 15minutes to make all the photographs as shown above, and a few of my more 'technical' industrial images made earlier that day, just to show off my lens a bit...

Oh, btw I haven't checked out the tilt function yet..being so wide depth of field is quite enormous at f16/22 and so far I just haven't had the need for.

Regards, Ivan

When I saw this house in the twilight I just had to stop...
When I saw this house in the twilight I just had to stop...
...but when I got back home I found the colours difficult to visualize...
...but when I got back home I found the colours difficult to visualize...
200 ISO f16 at 15sec. Slightly overexposed to keep shadow noise down.
200 ISO f16 at 15sec. Slightly overexposed to keep shadow noise down.
My (dirty) car used as foreground prop, I just didn't have time to move it..
My (dirty) car used as foreground prop, I just didn't have time to move it..
some lens flare, and without my 'prop'
some lens flare, and without my 'prop'
..the once beautiful municipal 'art deco' building.... now quite derelict...
..the once beautiful municipal 'art deco' building.... now quite derelict...
...a mine photograph an hour and fifteen minutes and 25km earlier...
...a mine photograph an hour and fifteen minutes and 25km earlier...
..extreme shift at f11...and some liberal post processing
..extreme shift at f11...and some liberal post processing
...extreme shift and 100% corner detail...
...extreme shift and 100% corner detail...
...and another 100% crop detail...
...and another 100% crop detail...
Created: Thu, 15/11/2012 - 13:19

Comments

Wow, very impressive.

Wow, very impressive.

Ivan - can see the lens is

Ivan - can see the lens is good. But without YOUR grey matter in the 100mm behind the lens - it would not have been possible….

Thanks for the compliment ,

Thanks for the compliment , but with my 'style' of photography which is really very basic and straight forward, I don't really have to rely too much on the grey matter...which is in short supply...

I still want to try and use a

I still want to try and use a T/S lens. Great shots.
Is the shift for correcting horizontal line distortion then?
And the tilt?

Morkel Erasmus

Morkel, the shift is for

Morkel,

the shift is for keeping the verticals straight, as opposed to converging verticals that you would get when photographing a high building. You have to tilt your camera backwards to get everything in and then your verticals converge towards the top..shifting prevents this because your camera is level and the lens gets shifted up to fit the top of the building..and all the 'planes' of focus are parallel

Tilt is to change the 'plane' of focus..also look up 'scheimphlug' it is used where you want to 'lay' a plane where everything in the plane is in focus. In say a landscape where you want everything from right in front of the camera and right up to the horizon to be in focus. You would tilt the lens down which will have the effect of the lens plane, sensor plane and area to be in focus to meet in one point, when that happens you have a plane of 'in focus' running from the front of the camera right up to infinity...stopping down increase the depth of field on either side of the 'plane'

I learned all this stuff years ago when I was studying photography so my theory might be a bit rusty!

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