The Blue Mansion

Having had a few days break from the blog over Xmas and New Year it’s time to start the occasional post again as we make our way into 2012. I visited Penang over the festive period and had the opportunity to stay at the wonderfully historic Blue Mansion …. or Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion which has been beautifully and meticulously restored to its former glory. This venue provided some great photo opportunities and the above shot exemplifies that with the deep indigo blue colored walls, the rustic floor tiles and the stunningly detailed and colored spiral staircase.
I also had the opportunity during this trip to test out a new lens which I have added to my arsenal of Canon L lenses. I have often wondered about the benefits of a tilt-shift lens and given the high cost of these particular lenses plus the fact that I may not use it enough to justify the cost I have put off this purchase. However I eventually relented (as I often do with camera equipment) and picked up the shiny new Canon TS-E 17mm f/4.0L just prior to the Xmas break.
I love my existing wide angle 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens but one small aggravating feature it has, particularly when taking architecture, are the sloping perspectives which give the impression of the tall buildings falling backwards. At times this can be used to good advantage but in many circumstances it’s good to be able to keep everything orthogonal.
I will share some comparison shots of this new tilt-shift lens in a later post but this shot here shows the power of such a lens. Placing the camera body on a tripod and leveling this it’s a simple job then to shift the lens up or down to frame the shot and retain perfect verticals. The other great advantage here is the ability to take three shots, one with no lens shift, the other two shots with positive and negative lens shift to capture the scene upwards and downwards. Then it’s a very simple task to stitch the three frames into a portrait panorama and as there is no lens distortion makes the stitching process simple and flawless compared to when I have previously done this with a standard wide angle lens. In a similar fashion with the tilt-shift lens adjusted by 90 degrees you can easily capture a landscape panorama with three shots.
I think the shot shown here convinces me of the great benefits of a tilt-shift lens and I am sure that this will probably become one of my favorite lenses to use especially for architectural shots or panoramas.

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