This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 19mm f/4E PC, also known as PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED, a special purpose wide-angle lens designed for architecture, cityscape and landscape photography. “PC” stands for “Perspective Control”, but I will refer to this type of lens as “tilt-shift” in this article. Architecture and cityscape photographers often work with straight lines and tilt-shift lenses give the ability to avoid the convergence of vertical lines by shifting the lens upwards or downwards. Landscape photographers often want to keep everything in focus, especially when dealing with close foreground objects. Stopping down to very small apertures results in diffraction, which impedes sharpness. Tilt-shift lenses offer an alternative to stopping down by tilting the plane of focus, putting both closest and furthest objects in focus. Focus stacking in post-processing software is another way to achieve maximum focus without stopping down excessively, however, the technique also has its pros and cons, making tilt-shift lenses unique in their own ways. The ability to apply selective focus on a particular part of the image via lens tilting allows distant subjects to appear “miniaturized”, although this effect can be reproduced in image editing software, as well.
Cityscape photography has become increasingly popular in recent years as downtown revival and walkability have been prioritized by city governments. Humans are intrinsically attracted to the patterns, lines, and vivacity of urban landscape images. Additionally, photographing cityscapes requires only a modest investment in camera gear, with a sturdy tripod and a decent wide-to-normal zoom lens being the most critical. Having spent the past five years living close to bustling city centers I have come to love photographing cityscapes. Research and trial-and-error are my teachers. In this article, I will share some common mistakes made by cityscape photographers, including several tips on how to take better cityscape photos yourself.
Have you ever visited a historic landmark or any other beautiful space only to be told that photography is not allowed? It seems that most, if not all, photographers have encountered this situation. In this brief article I will talk about various types of photography policies that you may encounter and how to deal with them. This article will provide practical advise, not a definition of your rights as a photographer. Please understand that my experiences are not a replacement for a lawyer’s, and that my knowledge mostly pertains to locations in the United States.
A year and a half ago my family moved from the suburbs of Washington D.C. to Houston, TX. The move came at a good time for me because I was about to enter my final year of college, and I was not spending much time at home. Moving can be stressful, but I quickly learned that Houston is a vibrant city with plenty of photographic opportunities. During the summer of 2016 I posted my first guest article about cityscape and architecture in Pittsburgh, PA. This post will mirror that one as I share my experiences photographing iconic scenes of Houston while imparting some knowledge I learned along the way.
Over the last three years, I have been photographing cities with an IR-converted Nikon D80 DSLR while traveling on business trips. I am very fortunate that my job duties involve the administration of international projects, so I travel once or twice per month, mostly in Central Europe, but also in Western and Eastern Europe. Whenever I travel, I try to plan at least a very short window for photographing, even if it is sometimes only 1-2 hours long. In this article, I share some insights after photographing with an IR camera for almost 3 years in roughly 20 European cities.
On May 15th I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh is a vibrant city, known for its industrial heritage. Downtown is located at the convergence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers into the Ohio River, called “The Point.” The hills surrounding the city offer excellent viewpoints for photos. I spent my last two semesters at CMU (August through May) creating images of Pittsburgh’s skyline and architecture during my free time. Twenty of my favorite images are shown below accompanied by a discussion of my creative process.
Quite a few people have emailed me in the past to write about shooting cityscapes with a long exposure and I have repeatedly asserted that while it is not especially complicated, I am certainly no expert on the subject. In fact, finding the time to write an article about it was a much greater challenge!
If you ever have the chance to visit Paris, one of the absolute highlights is, of course, the Eiffel Tower. Riding the elevator to the top is an experience in and of itself — as you fly through the Tower’s metallic skeleton, you start to see flashes of the city shrinking below you. When you come to a stop (after stepping past the fifteen-foot tall gears that turn the elevator’s cable), the view you see is maddeningly beautiful.
This content sharing contest came at a fortuitous time; for a while, I had posted essays on books. I let that lapse because I decided to spend more time on photography. Like many others, I have opinions and have wanted to jump back into writing. Great thing for Photography Life to ask for guest posts!
Recently, I have come realize that Mike Johnston’s phrasing of photography as its own thing, is a profound statement of an approach and appreciation of the craft. He has a whole recent series on it at The Online Photographer. At the very least, it is something that appealed greatly to me.