Perspective Photography

by Earl J Posted on March 31, 2014

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Perspective – what is that? I just checked it out in my dictionary and they gave me five different meanings and I found that their fourth explanation relates best to photographers. It says that “Perspective is the relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole.” I hope the photos following will make that meaning a bit clearer. I’ll include pictures in this blog that I think are improved after considering and changing their perspective. Now for the first photo. I was in Eugene OR and wanted to take a picture of the capitol building. This is the result – a photo that is perfectly acceptable.

Portland and Oregon Coast in June 085

But then I wanted to do something a little more dramatic. I got on the ground, focused on some attractive flowers in the foreground and let the capitol be a little out of focus. That’s the result after picking a very different perspective.

Portland and Oregon Coast in June 080

My next examples were taken in Tarpon Springs, FL. I felt the palms made for a nice vertical photo and because I took these just before sun-set I captured a lot of dimension in the sand. Can you see the persons on the shore? They are barely visible but give perspective so that you can figure out how large the palm trees are.

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My next photo was at the same park and shows the sun about to disappear. Again, including some people on the shore brings perspective in seeing how tall the sea oats are.

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To record the best angles, I walked around the Live Oak FL court house a lot before I took my first photograph there. Here I was impressed with the small moon against a very blue sky and picked a position that would put the moon near the tower.

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These statues were on a path leading to an American-Indian house of worship in Taos NM. I found the perspective I wanted by getting close to the statues and having them become the dominant feature.

E in CO and NM July '05 035

Another good use of perspective is in using a position to show just how large an object is. This photo, of the Monastery of Montserrat in Spain, gives us an idea of the size of the mountain peaks when we note how small the buildings in the lower-left corner look.

Spain in Sep and Oct 2004 021

Here’s a couple of very different shots of what the “locals” call the Blue Bridge in Mayo FL. First photo gives us an idea of the size of the bridge when we look at the car going across.

2007 E's Bridge to Mayo 004

Here’s a picture of the same bridge but from a very different perspective. It required getting on the ground. Moral of this blog is to dress very casually when taking photographs.

2007 D's Knees and Mayo Bridge 020

Destin FL is more than miles of wonderful beaches. Here’s a mansion that has been preserved in a state park in Destin. I wanted to take a photo of the mansion, and again I walked around until I found this spot where the live oak trees served as a powerful frame.

Copy of E at the Panhandle with the 717 017

This is an attractively-decorated path in Lazienki Park, Warsaw, Poland. It’s another example of perspective – first getting low-down to capture more of the decorations, and then showing their size by including the people on the path.

D to Warsaw in August 2012 242

Here’s the Suwannee River in Florida. I took this in the morning, during the golden hour, and had the limbs act as a frame.

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I hope these examples will show you how perspective can play a major role in helping you create great photos.

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more about Earl J

I'm a long-time film photographer, starting with a darkroom in my parents' fruit-cellar when a teen-ager. I fought the change to digital at first, but no longer. I've become a convert and Shutterfly has been my on-line provider since 2002. Since then I've placed (as I write this) 135 orders for prints, enlargements, calendars for every year and 42 photo books in different sizes. I'm very pleased with the top quality of all Shutterfly products.

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