Like Tilt Shift only without the Tilt-Shift (Expensive) Bits

One of the things I love about my iPhone is that it’s almost a tilt-shift lens. When I say “almost” I mean, not really, but it can sort of fake it.

A true tilt-shift lens can move the lens plane in relation to the film plane. It can shift, moving the lens upwards or downwards and also tilt, adjusting the angle, which in turns generates all sorts of havoc with the circles of confusion. It’s a wonderful device, a “real” tilt-shift lens is, though they are quite expensive, with even a cheap one clocking in at over one thousand dollars.

So you want a “real” tilt-shift but can’t afford to shell out one thousand clams on something you won’t use all that often anyway? IPhone to the rescue! The iPhone has several apps, including one called, well, TiltShift available for purchase. Though the name might not be all that clever, the app is. It allows you to generate “fake” tilt-shift images, specifically ones that look like miniature fakes.
According to the wiki:

Tilt-shift miniature faking is a process in which a photograph of a life-size location or object is manipulated so that it looks like a photograph of a miniature scale model.”

So you can see how this might be totally fun-it renders everything, every darn thing, both small and big, in such a way that it winds up looking like it’s part of a model train set. Seriously. Miniature. Scale. Model. Like, think “jolly green giant” and you’re there. How fun is that?

In case you’re wondering about this picture, it was not actually taken with the tiltshift app, but it is actually a whistle-stop garden image. What’s a whistle-stop garden, you might ask? And, why, I’d be here to tell you. A whistle-stop garden is a garden railway. It’s a model train that runs through your garden or, perhaps, a garden that runs through your model train. It’s all the rage and I have to say, while I consider the whole idea, the entire notion a bit cheesy, I *SO TOTALLY WANT ONE IN MY BACKYARD!*

There, I said it. I admitted it. In mixed company even. I really *love* whistle-stop gardens. There’s just something about them that’s so fun in such a way words fail to describe really. They are model trains taken outside of the dusty basement and allowed to play freely in the grass. How cool is that? Me want!

I was so tickled when I wandered over to the Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery to happen upon a new area, an expansion of the garden that they had just opened up. And, what did I find there? Yup, you guessed it. I was even happier to discover that they had planted a whistle-stop garden. They still have it on display, in fact, this is a picture of it, taken with my trusty iPhone. 

A whistle-stop garden? Right near my house? And an iPhone app that allows me to fake tilt-shift? Somehow, I’m thinking these two things must come together in some strange way. Tell me, honestly, do you smell a photo project in there or what? (I really never do know what to say to those people who ask me, “how do you get new ideas for things to photograph?” Lookout for that locomotive, one might just caboose itself right into your lap one day.)

I would even recommend that James May do a life sized whistle-stop garden for his “Top Toys” show, except that, well, I think a “life sized whistle-stop garden” would just be a train really. Wouldn’t it?

Oh gosh, now my brain hurts thinking about that.

Well, fake tilt-shifts, fake model trains, fake life sized people, it’s all very confusing. If you sort it out, if you get it all figured out, would you please let me know? In the meantime, I’ll be off, out in the garden, hoping to not step on my caboose.

Until next time…


1 Comment

  1. Victoria
    December 1, 2010 / 6:12 pm

    So I'm terrible about dropping by regularly and am taking advantage of a rainy day, wireless (using my laptop in the kitchen) and the need to babysit soup stock bubbling away on the stove to try to catch up a bit… thinking I'll drop by your blog for a quick visit is always a mistake (not because I don't enjoy your blog!) because you have so many fascinating ideas to share about how to use my iPhone that I get lost for much longer than I intend! This "tilt shift" concept is one I'm going to have to check out and experiment with although I've been remarkably unsuccessful (IMO) at getting any images as nice as many of your iPhone shots!

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