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  • Hueco Tanks + Brenizer method

    Maria Rubinchik sending Baby Martini V6 in Hueco Tanks

    After heavily utilising off-camera flash on last years Rocklands climbing trip, I was keen to try some different techniques on this trip to Hueco Tanks, in Texas. I remember really enjoying shooting with the 50mm f1.4mm @ f1.4, but have always felt like the 50mm was a little too long for many shots I wanted to take. I tried the amazing Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art, and was completely sold with its field of view, sharpness and bokeh... but then I read about the Brenzier method, or 'bokeh panorama'.

    Images like this inspired me to investigate further... http://ryanbrenizer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/samplesstoryboard001.jpg

    It struck me that the surreal rendering of the surrounding environment, and the razor focus could be a visual representation of the climbing experience: that intense focus on the rock, and the climbing moves, while the world around you fades into a haze. 

    The method is simple in theory - using a longer prime lens, you shoot a series of overlapping shallow depth-of-field images, then stitch them using phtoshop. The result is a wide-angle image, with a shallower depth of field than any currently available wide-angle prime could create; a standard 50mm lens could theoretically create the equivelant of a 35mm f0.4 lens.  From a web search it seemed the method was predominantly used for wedding photography, but i couldnt see any reason it wouldnt work for climbing photography. The trick would be the shoot the climber - who would undoubtedly be moving - in a single frame, then fill in the surrounding area with overlapping shots.

    The above shot was a 24 shot stitch after several failed attempts - either mis-focused, or with gaps betweeen my overlapping images (its harder than I imagined). I was also lucky enough to get the shot just as the climber - Maria Rubinchik - linked the last big moves to complete the climb!

    So psyched for her send, and this new technique! More to come...