Toy car in downtown Phoenix

This is a real car, driving next to a real man on a real bike in downtown Phoenix. Why does it look like a toy car on a model set? Because I used a miniature faking effect that simulates a shallow depth field and fools your eyes into thinking it’s looking at something up-close.

Another component of the miniature illusion is selective focus, which in its purest form is achieved with tilt-shift photography. However in this case, I faked it with Photoshop and directed your attention to the car in the picture for this miniature effect.

Not bad for a first attempt, although I should have spent more time fiddling around in Photoshop to make the guy on the bike less blurry. This tutorial made it surprisingly easy to achieve this effect.

See more photos like this in this tilt-shift miniature fakes flickr group.

Photo details:

  • Exposure: 1/400
  • Aperture: f/9.0
  • Focal Length: 50 mm
  • Taken from the fifth floor of a parking garage at 10am

Mill Avenue Bridges

A new dimension opened up to me this weekend: the world of the extreme wide angle. I rented a 17-35mm/f2.8 lens (which cost $40 from Tempe Camera) and haven’t been the same since. The flexibility, range and power of the lens kicked in, and I couldn’t have taken enough pictures.

These photos were taken from the north side of Tempe Town Lake on July 10 and July 11, 2010, with the 17-35mm/f2.8, a tripod and some fortunate timing. I didn’t touch them with photoshop, other than to adjust the size.

When shooting, I found myself paying much more attention to the angles, the frame and the edges, which is a good habit to get in to. I can’t afford the 17-35mm/f2.8 (which runs for ~$2,500), but I’ve read that the 24mm/f2.8 is an affordable way to get your feet wet in the wide angle pool, so that’s next on my photog shopping list.

Click here to see more photos from my Mill Avenue Bridge romp.

1st Ave & Van Buren at night, quiet and loud

Photos on top are looking northbound on 1st Avenue. The position of the camera for the loud photo on the left was the best vantage point for this shot and I wish I would have used the same exact position for the quiet one. You can feel the absence of the YMCA when they’re side by side. Otherwise, I’m pleased with how much the photos show of Downtown Phoenix, and its character: vintage Westward Ho, contemporary Arizona State University, refurbished YMCA, Palm Trees, Light Rail, Uptown, Downtown, Mountains in the distance…and no people.

Photos on the bottom are looking westbound on Van Buren. The loud one is striking, but a bit overexposed. It’d be a lot sharper if the lights weren’t so blinding and if I got rid of all the lens flares. On the other hand, it might not be so loud then. I do like the three palm trees peaking out over the madness and the dim and blurry Old Glory. The quiet one feels hot and bright, the desert road goes on forever and it exudes Valley summer.

All of these photos were taken with a 50mm lens, at a slow shutter speed (16-30 seconds) on a tripod, around midnight on Friday, July 2, 2010, from the fifth floor of a parking garage on the southeast corner of 1st Avenue and Van Buren. I’ll be back.

Click here to see more photos like this.