A view above (Dennis Aubrey)


This is another quick mini-post to sing the praises of the Canon 17mm tilt-shift lens. The lens has proven a revelation for the churches over here, perfect for capturing the full horizontal and vertical scope. As shown in a previous post, “The Celestial Vault”, it is excellent for capturing vaulting. This photo shows how the camera is rigged on the Bogen Manfrotto tripod (3021-B-Pro Tripod with 405 geared head). One hint on this rig: because the 1ds Mark III has the “live view” feature, the use of a mirror for setting up the shot is a great benefit, much better than climbing around underneath trying to focus and frame. I visually level and orient the camera, then use the mirror and “live view” to focus the camera, and then make the tripod adjustments to get the shot perfectly aligned and set the exposure. It takes awhile, but the results are always good and there is no need to resort to post-production processing in order to salvage the shot.

Rig for shooting vaults with 17mm tilt shift

Rig for shooting vaults with 17mm tilt shift

Here is another result of shooting with the rig – this time the extraordinary 11th Century Romanesque frescoes on the vault of Eglise Saint Savin at Saint Savin-sur-Gartempe in the Vienne. I’ve been coming to this church with my family since 1961, at which time it was dank, musty, and forlorn. In the high darkness we could barely make out the paintings, which were in a sad state of disrepair. In recent years, however, the church has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the funding has been made available for a very credible restoration of the church and a determined effort to preserve the frescoes.

Romanesque frescoes at Saint Savin-sur-Gartempe

So this post is about singing the praises of two things; first, the monumental vault frescoes of Saint Savin-sur-Gartempe, and second, the achievement made by Canon in producing the TS-E 17mm f/4 L Tilt-Shift Lens. It may be on the pricy side, but if you are working in the field of architectural photography where wide vistas are crucial, this lens is a superb addition to the photographer’s kit.

3 responses to “A view above (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. But the lens can only capture what the soul of the photographer feels. Happy Birthday, Dennis. You and Patty are way too cool.

  2. I appreciate the symmetry of this piece, Dennis. Even the black lighting lines add interest, drawing all eyes to the center fresco. Did Ann and I visit this church with you once? The fresco looks familiar.

  3. Pingback: The Medieval Bounty of Poitiers (Dennis Aubrey) «

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