Sunday, February 22, 2015


Before I talk about this crucial factor in photography, what do you see above? 

You are looking at the interior of the Utah State Capitol dome. The smaller center circle surrounded by several smaller white circles is a giant chandelier hanging from the top of the dome! I placed my tripod about 18" from the floor of the rotunda, aimed straight up at the dome to get this shot. It looks one dimensional, but the dome is 285' from floor to the top. 

This is a short rhetorical survey. Let me see a "show" of hands: What percentage of all your images are taken from eye level, as you're standing up? Just as I thought.

Regardless of the percentage you came up with, I urge you to vary the perspective from where you get your shots. Look up, look down, get flat on your back or your stomach--whatever it takes to create more interesting, intriguing, appealing, and dramatic images.

Look at this next image. It's interesting--not a subject most of us see everyday. It's a scene depicting the history of mining in Colorado. 

Now, let's redo this one. What would I get if I got about two feet from the ground instead of eye level?

You can feel the strength, the power of the mining car from this close distance and perspective--I was looking up at it. You can still see the interesting faded walls of nearby buildings and what used to be a second-story door or window, but all from a different and stronger perspective. There is also less ground included in this image, which complements rather than take away from the cars. Additionally, this perspective creates the illusion that the tracks on the lower right go on forever. 

Look at this image above. Do you think it was easy or hard to get this one? Well, first, it was hard to see from where I was walking--along Bear Creek Trail near Telluride, Colorado.

My intuition led me to look on the other side of this large fallen tree. I'm glad I did. This photo demonstrates what I had to do with my tripod to get this shot. As you can see, because of the uneven ground along the trail, I had to alter my tripod setup to match the topography. Once I set up, I attached my camera to my tripod head, which was aimed straight down to get the image above. As you can imagine, I was bent over at a 90-degree angle. Whatever it takes.

So, next time you're out shooting, go ahead and get those eye-level shots--get it out of your system. But, before you move on, ask yourself if there is another perspective from which you can photograph the same subject. You will pleasantly surprise yourself. The more you do it, the greater your collection of more interesting images. 

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this topic. If you live in the Boulder/Denver area, call me and we'll do a 1-on-1 lesson, but from a different perspective.