I always think about perspective and/or perception when taking photos.
Perception is what or how you interpret situations, people, objects.
Perspective is your point of view.
Perspective in photography has been described as the change in depth in a photo, spatial dimensions, blah blah blah. That is what I got from a lot of articles that I read. But I see it as – perception is your understanding of how you see things or interpret things by your attitude or outlook and that can lead to a change in your perspective which is your opinion or point of view. Confused yet? I certainly am…….
This whole thing started in my brain this past fall. Clint and I were hiking a trail at Bon Echo Provincial Park and a young guy came up behind us. He was so close to me and it startled me. You know how you can sense someone behind you? I said to him you are very close, you should have said Excuse me, or whistled or something. He marched past us muttering “Well you people are so slow” I said to him” well we’re 3 times your age, plus we are enjoying our hike!” No answer. But it got me thinking about him and I started wondering, has he noticed all the cool mushrooms on the side of the trail? Has he seen the animal tracks that we see? Did he notice the beautiful wildflowers hidden behind a large Maple tree? Probably not, he was in a hurry to get back to his car and cell service…..
I feel HIS perception of the whole hike was to get it over, his outlook was “let’s be done with this hike”. When my husband and I hike, we perceive things differently. For example, we look at mushrooms and see the colour or texture and want to capture it. Or we see the flowers and try a macro shot or a distance shot or we wonder how to edit a photo into something else perhaps. This attitude can change our perception of what the hike should be.
So, in my opinion, in regards to photography, basically looking at things in a new perspective can change your perception. So if you look at your subject in a different angle or location or how you process it, then your perspective changes which is basically the composition of your work.
We have been fortunate enough to see a number of bears to photograph and this one particular year, we saw a family of a mom and 4 cubs. The one cub was so tiny that to tell people how tiny he/she was would have been hard to describe. When I did a Blog post up on this experience, I left a woman’s feet in one photo to show how little the bear was in comparison. Normally I would not leave the person in the photo but it gives a better perspective on the size of this little one.
As I mentioned, we normally walk trails at a somewhat slow pace as we are always stopping and looking around. And as photographers, we look up, we look down and we stop and look behind us on the trails. Your perspective can be quite different if you do this. Sometimes we take our photos by being down on our knees (that one is getting more difficult), laying down on the ground, being up high…..these can all change your perspective and your perception of a particular landscape, animal, etc. in how you see something and how you choose to photograph it.
I know people that have to have their wildlife shots face on. And yes normally I do too. I took a bunch of photos of a raven last year and my favourite one is of his back. In the photo below, he is more or less face on.
Below is a view of his back, which I prefer. I just think it gives more mystery or something. And by doing this, your whole perspective can be changed. What’s he looking at? Why is he ignoring me? Does he not want his photo taken?
I took this photo of a garter snake by standing over him. I could have gotten down close to the ground and got a face to face but I wanted something different. Plus I don’t like snakes.
Trails can be the same, your view in front of you can be completely different if you turn around on the trail and take a photo in the direction from which you came.
I find if I do a photo in B&W, it can also change the perception of an image. This photo is of an old mill and I did it both ways. In my opinion, the B&W gives it a timeless quality and it looks aged, more so than the colour version. These are all my own opinions so if you have a different opinion, comment…..please feel free to share. I like hearing other people’s opinions or choices.
When you take a photo, you can edit it to change the perspective entirely. Crop something out, stick something in, change the colour, age it, all kinds of different ways can be used to change the look.
I put a photo in a presentation once and it was trees, in the fall, reflecting into the lake. I chose to take a photo of the reflection in the lake which made the trees look upside down. I remember a woman saying “Look they are upside down” because she thought I put the photo in upside down, not realizing I was trying to be artistic lol
So below is the original photo….
But I decided to crop it and make the reflections the focus. I don’t like it but I wanted to try something different. But it did change my perspective of both photos and so now I don’t like either photo lol
The point being is that there is so much more to photography than pointing and shooting. You want people to really feel your photo and see it as you saw it in the moment you took it or do editing to make it artistic, like a painting or B&W or add/remove items, change the colours etc.
Changing your perception on anything, not just photography, can change your whole perspective.
Like living with Covid, we all have had to change our perceptions on the way we live our lives. My perspective on my life has changed a lot in how I view the world now. I appreciate all the little things, and big things, we used to be able to do which has certainly changed my viewpoint or perspective.
Stay safe and enjoy the nice cold weather.