Tiltshift lenses provide so much more than the selective focus-look we all know so well.
The Vampire Effect
Photo: MIKE BAXTER
Baxter kept his Canon EOS 5D out of sight with a lateral shift of a Pentax FA 33–55mm f/4.5 lens, mounted via a Zörk shift adapter; 1/2 sec at f/16, ISO 200.
OK, we’ve made up this term, but it’s appropriate. You can use shift on the lens to shoot into a mirror without—shades of Dracula!—you or the camera appearing in the mirror. It’s a handy trick for shooting interior decor, as well as for artistic photography of still lifes with mirrors. Handy for some product photography, too, as it lets you literally shoot around objects.
How it works: If you keep a camera parallel to a mirror, but off to the side, and then shift the lens sideways toward the mirror, the picture will appear as if taken head-on. Objects in front of the mirror, though, will look rearranged from a head-on perspective. Crazy!
How to do it: Exactly the way it sounds. Set up the composition (a tripod is a near-must), then step the camera to one side or the other until you and it are out of the reflection. (You can sometimes also do this by lowering the camera and shifting the lens upward.) See which new view in the mirror looks better in your image—left, right, or up. In the case of a very wide-angle T/S lens and/or very large mirror, you may not be able to shift enough to dematerialize yourself.