In our Photo Anatomy series on Digital Camera World we select pictures by famous photographers and explain point by point what makes them work.
In our latest instalment award-winning press photographer Dan Chung reveals how he captured Usain Bolt’s 100m final victory at the Beijing Olympics using innovative tilt-shift lens effects.
Freezing the action
“I handheld my Nikon D3, which was fitted with a Nikon PC-E Micro-Nikkor 85mm lens,” Dan says. “I used an exposure of 1/500 sec at f/2.8 with the ISO set to 800.”
Dan used his tilt-shift lens to create a narrow depth of field, making the runners stand out from the blurred background as if they were a group of miniature-scale models.
This frame was captured just after the runners had crossed the finish line, and Bolt’s holding out his arms in celebration. The display board shows his record-breaking time.
“I’m always looking for a different perspective on an event,” says Dan. “This photo was part of a series of tilt-shift images I took during the Games.”
As a press photographer, Dan had to create this effect entirely in-camera. “I was shooting for The Guardian and wouldn’t have been allowed to use software to simulate it,” he says.
“Tilt-shift lenses have a variety of technical and creative uses and are great fun to experiment with, but they’re expensive. As an alternative, the miniature-like appearance shown here can be created at the post-capture stage.
Chris Rutter, Technique editor
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