Photographer Sam Hurd is sharing yet another one of his artistic photography techniques with his followers. He mastered The Brenizer Method, he basically had all of Amazon on backorder for Prisming, he ripped the lens mount right off his 50mm for Freelensing, and then he did some convex Lens Chimping. This time around, Sam attached an old anamorphic movie lens to his 85mm in order to shoot a very cinematic wide field of view. Take a look at how it works!
I discovered this new tutorial on Sam’s blog and thought you might also want to learn how he went about this cool technique. Unlike his past tutorials, this one requires the purchase of a special lens and an adapter – which can be pretty expensive compared to, say, a prism. Sam bought his lens here, but I saw similar lenses on eBay for as little as half to one third of the cost. I’m sure you can find pros and cons for either source, but once you have the gear, here’s what you'll need to know:
Instead of capturing an image at a regular aspect ratio like the lenses you already have in your camera bag can, an anamorphic lens sends a very compressed image to a camera’s sensor which appears elongated. Sam refers to this as the “squished” image that needs to be “un-squished” back to proper proportions during post processing. He doesn’t actually go into detail about how he does this un-squishing, but I played with his black and white portrait in Photoshop for a little while and found that by multiplying the main lens’ focal length by the anamorphic lens’ focal length (85 * 1.9 = 161.5) I was able to increase the image width using the product of the mentioned focal lengths (161.5%). (Be sure to turn off Constrain Proportions for that one!) This got me very close to his result and what appeared to be proper proportions. I was just experimenting, but I think this equation might work with other lenses. (Maybe someone with greater math skills than I have can chime in on this.)
Sam even included a quick video on how to properly mount the anamorphic lens.
Here are some more stunning examples of how he utilized this new lens combination.
I noticed the center placement of his subjects within these shots, so I asked Sam if it was more of an artistic choice or if it was due to technical limits. This is what he later added to his blog in response.
“the biggest caveat that i’ve found when doing this technique is the focusing. it’s kind of a pain and it’s why i’ve pretty much relied on center weighted compositions when doing them. it’s just easier to get pin sharp focus in the dead center of the frame, and with such a wide panoramic aspect ratio it’s easier to balance the compositions with a centered subject.”
My first real education in photography actually came from what I learned at film school, so I think this is a really cool technique of combining two mediums I love. I immediately think back to Tonino Delli Colli's cinematography in Sergio Leone's "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly." Although achieving focus may take extra time, this method allows for ultra-wide compositions within a single image — unlike panoramic stitching! So now that you know how to go about capturing sweeping cinematic images within a camera you already own, one question remains. Are you going to make some room in your camera bag for one more lens?
[Via Sam Hurd Photography]