Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Here is another of those things that you can do with photography that are particularly 'photographic' - playing with perspective.

When you look at a scene with your eyes you see it as 'normal', you interpret the perspective and the relationship between objects in a completely natural way and are very unlikely to notice it unless you are specifically looking for it. Photography adds another dimension but it isn't the one that immediately springs to mind, what it adds is a frame.

From any given point the perspective you see in a scene cannot change but when you frame some part of the scene you emphasise the relationship between objects in the picture. Photographically this gives us another thing that we can manipulate without resorting to retouching. We can alter the amount of the scene either by cropping the frame or by changing the lens for a wider or longer one - or we can change the perspective by moving ourselves closer or further away. Altering the relative distance and angle between the camera and the different subject elements.

The most obvious examples of this are in the use of very long lenses and very wide lenses. I have a preference for the standard and wide end of the range but when the need arises I am quite happy to play with longer lenses too. These first few pictures were all shot with a 300mm lens and the foreshortening of perspective is what makes them work as pictures.

It takes a different eye to see what is going on and a little practice especially to get the pictures sharp. You could just peer through the lens and see what it looks like but you have to know where to point and learning where to point is the bit that takes time.

The other extreme is to use a wide lens and make the perspective a major feature of the picture.

This is just another opportunity to exploit when taking pictures, a long lens is not just for photographing things that are too far away or too small and a wide lens is not just for photographing things that are too big to fit in otherwise. Sure these uses are perfectly valid but the creative use of focal length can give your photography a whole new perspective.

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