Monday, March 02, 2009

Photography 101 - Lesson 7

Change your perspective

Most people take almost all of their pictures from the same position: standing up. So about 95% of the pictures out there were taken with the camera held at around 5 to 6 feet off the ground. How very ordinary.

But this class is here to help you get your photos to be anything but ordinary. One way to do that is to get your camera at some other height.

This first picture was taken from a standing position when my mom and I were at the Golden Spike National Monument. It's looking down on the train's wheel and doesn't look all that wonderful.

After that picture, I remembered this lesson and crouched down to wheel height for another try:

This looks better.

At the photography workshop I attended in Washington, DC, they took us to Chinatown for a morning of picture-taking. I tried getting a shot of that lion statue across the street, framed by the top and arm of the fire hydrant, but the lion was too far away for the photo to work.

Back at the hotel at critique time, the professionals weren't any more thrilled with these pictures than I was. Until it was another guy's turn, and he had a shot of me sitting down on the sidewalk with my legs straddling the hydrant. The pro turned to me and said, "Now I'm impressed."

He still wasn't impressed with the picture, but he appreciated my willingness to get a little dirty and make myself uncomfortable for the sake of getting (or trying to) a good photo. And that's what Lesson 7 is about.

Climb up on a ladder or a park bench and look down on something instead of looking straight at it. Crouch down, kneel down, sit down, lie down, if that's what it takes to make your picture better.

You saw this spiral staircase in the Cabrillo Lighthouse in Lesson 4. In that lesson, the picture was taken from the top. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I went inside the central space, put my back against the wall, and pointed the camera straight up. It didn't look as good as I'd hoped, so I slid down to sit on the carpet. That's when I took the picture. The doorframe and the lower end of the bannister made nice diagonals that led to the central spiral.

It wasn't easy getting back to my feet in that tiny space.

This shot got me crouched low, with one knee on the rocks for balance.

And for the mushrooms, I had to get the camera down to their level. I'm pretty sure my knees and elbows got damp.


Look up. Look down. Move away from a standing position and take pictures from a different perspective. If you like some of your shots and want to share, post them on your blog and leave a comment here with the link.

Previous Lessons:

Photography 101 - Lesson 1 and Homework

Digital Photography 101 - Quickie Version

Digital Photography 101 - Update

Photography 101 - Lesson 2

Photography 101 - Lesson 3

Photography 101 - Lesson 4

Photography 101 - Lesson 5

Photography 101 - Lesson 6


Dina said...

Hi, I am a little behind in posting pictures, however today I have posted photos of circular items /objects around my town and still some more to come. I like your lessons, I just wish I had some more time to get out there and take more shots.

Dina said...

p.s. the blog on which the photos are posted is the maltadailyphoto blog.