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Saturday, February 2, 2013

The incredible shrinking cities: New York, London, Tokyo and Paris photographed to look just like toy sets


Toy town: London's Tower Bridge with HMS Belfast in the foreground looks like a model in one of Cityshrinker Ben Thomas's amazing trick photographs

You would be forgiven for thinking they are just model toys, but these are in fact some of the world's greatest cities transformed into miniature urban playgrounds using nothing more than a little spot of camera wizardry.
Photographer Ben Thomas, 31, has been dubbed the 'Cityshrinker' after developing a novel technique which he uses to reduce sprawling metropolises like New York, London, Tokyo and Paris to mere pint-sized proportions.
Mr Thomas, 31, from Melbourne, Australia has clocked up an incredible 77,800-air-miles - almost enough to go around the planet twice - on his quest to miniaturise as many of the world's cities as possible.

Little Apple: A view looking out over the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in New York City. Note the tiny wedding ceremony being held in the bottom right hand corner

Ben uses a technique called tilt shift where he carefully sets the depth of field on his camera to make large objects look much smaller than they actually are. TILT SHIFT: HOW IT'S DONE
Tilt shift photography traditionally requires a special type of lens which can be rotated or tilted to create a distorted view of a particular subject or scene allowing a photographer to created a twisted perspective.
Then by manipulating the depth of field more of the picture is brought into sharp focus.

Little big city: The iconic view from the Empire State Building in New York City as you've never seen it before

However developments in digital technology mean these effects can now be added after a picture is taken.
Photograher Ben Thomas says other factors come into play including distance, framing, colour, weather, lighting, air quality and even the numbers of people or vehicles in shot.
'It's a playful effect,' said Ben. I find the reaction goes from curiosity to recognition to sentimentality and wonder. I've seen people try to pick out places they've lived or visited in their travels.
'My photos are about giving the viewer a new look at something they're already familiar with, so there's often a connectedness there.'

Dinky toys: They look like a child's model cars but these are real Japanese taxis queuing for fares on the streets of Tokyo

Petit Paris: An aerial view of the Arc De Triomphe in the centre of the French capital

Explaining how he achieves his technique for reducing cities to tiny sizes he added: 'It's basically an optical illusion that relies primarily on manipulation of the depth of field.
'There are a lot of considerations besides this though that contributes to the success of an image, such as perspective and distance, framing, colour and subject.

Baby Frisco: An aerial view of The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

'For this technique to be really successful, there are so many factors involved that all need to align. This could be weather, lighting and air quality, even the numbers of people or vehicles in shot.
'You don't have the luxury of setting up in a studio, so the biggest challenge is timing and having the patience to wait for things to fall into place.
'But the formula isn't static - what works for one scenario, may not work for another.'

Strictly small time: The Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, is reduced to pint-sized proportions

Little China: A view of the streets of China Town in New York City

Another aerial shot of Paris this time showing the Pont de Bir-Hakeim

A view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background taken on a cloudy day in autumn

source: dailymail

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