Country Roads – a Tilt-shift View of Autumn in the Ozarks

My bird lens is on the fritz, 9 days at Olympus for repairs and counting. Arrrrgh! Peak fall color hit about 10 days ago so I have not been able to get my leaf shots – it’s something I look forward to all year. The last two weeks have been rainy off and on so shooting days are few and far between anyway. Last weekend a kind of panic hit me – shoot now or miss the whole season. I started by taking a couple of snaps on local roads with my portrait lens – not my favorite for these kinds of shots – but serviceable.

Shooting down roads has always been a mixed bag for me. I tend to shoot things that I can isolate like birds or leaves or objects. A scene can take me in, but capturing it effectively can often elude me. I had been playing around with a tilt-shift set up and wondered if I could use it to look into the distance on these country roads – to use it in a way that would help the viewer to get a better sense of what I feel when I am driving down one of these roads – crisp air, crunching swirling leaves, filtered sunlight. Can I take a photo that makes you feel these things?

I know I have explained this before, but just in case – a tilt-shift lens lets you move the lens at an angle so that the plane of focus is not parallel to the camera’s sensor – it gives you a “slice of focus” and lets you hone in on certain objects that you want to highlight. It is often used to distort an image to give it the feel of miniaturization.

Shooting gear that you are not completely comfortable with is often a good thing – it gives you a new perspective – it pushes you to try new things. Sometimes the distortion is unsettling, sometimes it’s almost painterly. For me, many of these shots give a better sense of the feel of the roads in the autumn.

These shots were all taken in the last few days, some from the same locations as the earlier shots.

OK – so no skyward leaves or birds amidst the color for me this year. Not having my favorite lens should limit me – but instead it’s forcing me outside of my happy place – and that’s a good thing.

42 thoughts on “Country Roads – a Tilt-shift View of Autumn in the Ozarks

  1. Pingback: A Tilt-shift View of Eureka Springs | the eff stop

  2. Stunning colour.
    My favourite is the second last image where the tree is in the middle of the road and all the leaves cover the roadside so it’s hard to tell which is countryside and which is road.

  3. Adapt & overcome! You have made great use of this “dusty” lens while waiting for the one you wanted to use. It looks like Nature had other plans for your time and your photos are wonderful.

  4. Gorgeous pics. The tilt shift gives movement to the picture. They look like my pictures from a moving train, but only on one side. Very strange sensation because why would one side be moving and the other be standing still? Interesting! The colors are awesome, and I like the long distance, dreamy look. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks – it does feel like only one side is moving – tilting makes it impossible for there to be symmetry πŸ™‚ It’s a good distraction while I wait for my lens to come back to me.

          • About the same as you. Been traveling a lot. I’ve been really busy with CCSS recently, and now I’m doing this NaNoWriMo thing, trying to write 50,000 words by Nov. 30. so far I’m on target! πŸ™‚ It’s fun, though! πŸ™‚

          • What did you do after you finished the month? I’m ahead so far, but I’m going to be busy at the end of the month. I’m going to St. Louis to a conference on the 21st.

          • Well – my other blog – the King of Isabelle Avenue is a place where I experiment with some of the stories. I need some more content to make a real book so I thought I would jump back in this year πŸ™‚ You are good to plan ahead – I will probably just make it πŸ™‚

          • I’m just lucky that my husband gives me the space to do it. I’ve done nothing but write and write and write for the last 4-5 days. My eyes are getting bleary!

          • Well, remember I’m going to be totally unable to work on it at all for four days at the end of the month. πŸ™‚ Keep going – you’ll make it! πŸ™‚

  5. These are wonderful shots! I do tend to agree with HeyJude about them, but for different reasons. Maybe because I’m on the cusp of needing glasses? Things look like your photos to me and they didn’t use that lens! =-O
    I get the concept, I love ‘tree in the road’. I don’t think I’ve seen any close ups with this lens. Is it not used for close up shots? You know me, point and shoot my camerone! I know no better! Ha!
    The one thing that comes thru clearly is the beautiful colors. Wow!

    • Funny – a friend from my childhood said that she wasn’t sure if it was the photo or the tequila, but that the tree photo made her dizzy πŸ™‚

      Well the lens is typically used for elevated shots in the city – the shots where the people and cars look like tiny models – but I have seen some amazing close work done with them. I need to try some close or macro shots. I did shoot some close shots of a pup with it earlier this week and I liked that effect.

  6. Beautiful photos! I live here in Arkansas too and I love the colors! I hope I can capture more this weekend. Loving the tilt shift. Trying it out at different angles and positions will help to find the sweet spot, so I completely understand the many images with the “look” of the tilt shift/blurring πŸ™‚

    • Thanks – hasn’t this fall color been amazing? I think this weekend might be the last one to get any good shots though. I shot some classic elevated tilt shift the other day – I may post those. I shoot a lot of macro and wide open aperture shots so the blur seems just a bit more extreme than what I usually aim for – well maybe more than just a bit πŸ™‚

  7. These tilt shots make me feel like I am just done with a picnic in the woods, the wine and cheese have been enjoyed along with the autumn colors. A perfect end to the day.

  8. I love the way you lead me down those roads in the first set of images. I’m still not sure about the tilt-shift effect. In some shots it almost makes me feel queasy, as in travel sickness, the blurriness is accurate as in shots that are taken on the move, but that is not what my eye sees when I am driving (I admit that I am a terrible passenger, I do get travel-sick). So maybe in one respect your shots do give a better sense of movement, but it’s not one I am comfortable with. I do like the line focus though and the two on the magnetic road, but they aren’t so blurred. What I do like is the colours in the second set. Anyway, this is just my opinion Lorri, maybe I just need to adjust to the difference. And to be fair I think you have succeeded in what you set out to do.
    Jude xx

    • I totally get your point. I’m not even actually using tilt-shift as you typically see it, I have seen some macro shots and they were pretty amazing, so I may have to try that πŸ™‚ The first set had a couple of shots i liked a lot, but the others were just “blah” to me. I see the scene and it seems so amazing, and my photo looks a mess. Scenery and landscapes are not my comfort zone at all. Tilt-shift is challenging. The first shots I took made me think I wanted to put the whole mess back in the box – but I’m trying to find the sweet spot. The color change has nothing to do with the gear – the tilt-shift shots were all taken right after a rain except for the last one. That really makes the leaves pop when the light hits them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I love hearing honest feedback. It’s totally OK if you don’t like something – I was hoping for some frank opinions!

      • Phew! I am so glad that I haven’t offended you. I find you have to be so careful in expressing an opinion as a lot of people just seek praise.

        I am very interested in your work and your techniques and as someone who finds it hard to shift from auto, I like to try and understand how to use other settings and effects. I too get annoyed when my camera doesn’t see what I have seen, though I suppose I should use RAW more.

        Interesting how the colour really pops after the rain. I have noticed that with flowers (my favourite thing to shoot) I need to go and find myself some trees this weekend.
        Cheers
        Jude xx

        • If you want praise, post on Instagram πŸ™‚

          I am actually a bit on the fence about the tilt-shift, but I like where it took me. It’s certainly more experimental and that’s good for me. I need to remind myself it’s about learning more and more and not just about getting a shot I love. One of the dog picks in my last post is one I really really like and I would never have taken it if I hadn’t embarked on this bit of experimentation.

          Trees look great after a rain because the bark becomes very dark when it’s wet, it sets them apart from the browns of the ground and fallen leaves. I love shooting flowers after a rain – waterdrops are my favorite.

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