Arts & Culture Maplewood

Maplewood in Miniature? A Drone Photographer Shares His Secrets — and His Photos

After Village Green spied Mason Levinson’s gorgeous drone photos of Maplewood on Facebook, we contacted him about posting the pictures on our platform. We also asked Mason to talk about his process. Read his response — and enjoy some of the photos — below.

I’ve always enjoyed viewing photography created using a miniaturization, or toy, effect. Fantastical and absorbing, when done well it brings to mind “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” This is a good thing.

As a licensed drone photographer, I’m now able to confidently capture scenery at a high angle, and by creating a narrow depth of field the way one would with close-up photography, the subject matter appears to be a lot smaller than it actually is. Historically accomplished with a tilt-shift camera lens, the effect, known as miniature faking, can be applied with most modern-day digital editing tools. However, many other ingredients, including a healthy dose of patience, are needed to get the optical illusion just right.

Exploring my own SOMA neighborhood from a different angle is exciting and eye-opening, and working on this project has allowed me to capture just a bit of this town’s great charm.

— Mason Levinson, a Maplewood-based photographer and writer, is the director of content at PR firm Rosecomm. More of his Neighborhood series can be seen and purchased on his website.

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