Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Changing Perspective

Quickest, easiest way to improve your photography? Change your perspective!
Been changing my perspective on a few things recently, thus not a lot of blogging... not a lot of photography for that matter either.
Changed that today. Went for a hike. Something about being outdoors, if not in nature, at least next to it. If I didn't know it before, I learned it several years ago on a 2 week road trip encompassing the western U.S. To change your perspective, sometimes all you have to do is turn around. It's just something I enjoy, truly enjoy. Marry that with photography, and you can just sense the changes starting to happen.

I restrained my photography to the use of a compact camera, a Nikon Coolpix S50. It's handy (literally smaller than the size of my palm, and attaches nicely to a backpack), durable (fallen in water, and still going), and has some pretty amazing features actually. Definitely fun to play with.

The changing perspective thing as it relates to photography. Well... take this first shot.

To be certain, a competent shot. Kind of like standing on the side of a trail, looking down, taking your camera out, taking a little time to compose and snapping a frame. Nothing wrong with that actually. Technically... It gives a sense that these aren't sitting in a vase, that you're outdoors somewhere. Narrow focus, shallow depth of field, and splashes of color help imply that there's more going on around here than two flowers and helps with the composition. Clearly, though, not satisfied with the shot overall.

On to the second shot...

A definite change in perspective. Truth be told, I kneeled on a rock and shifted my focus to telling more about the place I was at. If you've been up on Cowles' Mountain in San Diego, you know this view. That's what I wanted to accomplish with this image. The flowers are in bloom, the skies are their usual state of San Diego-ness, and Lake Murray just kind of hangs out lazily near the horizon. If you look carefully, you can even see people coming up on the trail. A much better sense of place, but just too busy for my parting shot, and only a moderate change in perspective.

Now, for the third in the series, I wanted to highlight the colors and shapes more than the actual place. One of my favorite things to do is to drop my perspective to the ground. This extreme yields a depth not easily achieved otherwise. Instead of shooting out though, I decided to shoot up. The San Diego sky does what it does on a partly cloudy afternoon, so it was just a matter of waiting for the yellow and blue to separate enough. Happily, I do this frequently enough to get the framing right, and let the auto focus do its thing. In retrospect, I guess I could have picked a flower and created a similar image, but where's the fun in that?

Sometimes it just takes a little time to figure out the direction you want to go in. If it doesn't work, you can always change your perspective and work towards something else. Keep working though!

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