Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Are You Working On?

As a photographer, I often struggle to make pictures with a sense of depth and perspective.

While our eyes see everything in three dimensions, the camera is limited to only two.  This is one reason that scenes often do not look as beautiful in pictures as they do in person. 

Adding depth to photos helps give the composition a three-dimensional feel, making for a more dynamic and powerful image. 

For more ways to add depth to your photographs, read Christina Harman’s article on Contrastly.

But what exactly is perspective and how can we use it to improve the composition of our photographs?  

Perspective is the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions.  It is the way our eye relates to spatial separation and the relationship between the size of objects, such that things seem smaller the further away they are, relative to their size. 

Perspective can only be changed by changing position – moving closer or further from the subject, changing the point of view, shooting from above or getting down low. 

Jason Row, on Light Stalking, presents useful tips for using perspective in photography. Another good resource. 

Understanding perspective in photography, not only helps me to take better pictures, it also helps me to appreciate the attributes and limitations of equipment and gear. 

My favorite lenses are prime – fixed focal length lenses. Using a prime lens requires that I physically move my body to change the perspective. I actively move in and around the scene and the resulting pictures often convey that energy. 

Perspective also explains why I have a love-hate relationship with my tripod. I love the tack sharp images taken at low ISOs I can achieve with my camera mounted on the tripod, but I am frustrated because I cannot move easily and freely.  I contort my tripod every which way trying to get the angle I want.

I love perspective not only for its photographic meaning, but also for its other meanings.  

Perspective may also refer to the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. 

We may seek to maintain perspective, gain a broader perspective, or view things in the proper perspective.  In photography, we attempt to control perspective in order to creatively use these differences in size and distance to improve our composition. Likewise, in our daily life, adjusting our perspective often yields a creative improvement in our outlook or situation. 

On a beautiful spring walk with a friend, we exercised and talked about life, sharing stories of family, struggles and joys.  I was immersed in the task of exercise and not the sunshine or the scenery. But she spotted the family of turtles sunning themselves on the log in the canal. Her perspective brought a change to mine.  Her intense appreciation of nature gave me the insight to view things in the proper perspective. 

The week started with another rainy Monday. Not a picture taking day. A visit to The Gratitude Collaborative with its images for the theme Rain changed my perspective. With my camera wrapped in a plastic bag and the smell of spring rain, I spent the morning with the raindrops and flowers, my umbrella and rain boots. 


I’m learning about and loving perspective.  What are you working on?

Linking up with Kim Klassen today for Texture Tuesday where the theme is for the love of ______ whatever comes to mind . . .  Kim’s texture, plaster squared, was used to give a lovely soft light to my collage with the graffiti girl.


  1. What an inspiration you are! Your photography is gorgeous! I love those turtles sunning.

  2. Sounds like a great lesson to be working on. I love my tripod for still life work because I too love that tack sharp image. I wish I could embrace it as much when I am out in the field. My lesson to work on. Among a myriad of other things. LOVE those rain boots!

  3. What am I working on??? My parents as well as my parents-in-law both celebrate their golden wedding anniversary this year. So more or less my wife and I have been scannning our whole lifes since weeks now starting with photos from our childhood. In the meanwhile I arrived in the year 1999. From year 2000 until present we can finally browse through our digital photo archive to find suitable photos for an...
    ...all-embracive digital photo book. Only 250,000 photos left and we've finished! ;-)

    Really a great photo blog you run, Donna!

    Enjoy the spring and its perspectives in your part of planet Earth!

    Regards from Germany,

  4. I love those little jars filled with flowers, but your flowered rainboots is my favorite... so gorgeous!

  5. You have a creative flair for setting up photo shots!

  6. Oh where to begin... Wonderful post. Perspective does have so many meanings doesn't it? In photography, I love to find a 'different' perspective that creates a unique image. In life, it is hard to remember there are different perspectives on everything...
    Love your images. Your rain images have inspired me to go out into the rain and find some raindrops to take pictures of. Have a great week!

  7. so much goodness in this posting Donna.... and the photos.... always AMAZING.
    I love the tulips in your rain boots..... that weathered wood is PERFECT....

    happy sigh... xo, Kim

  8. If I stand where I've always stood, nothing will ever look different . . .I think both life and photography art a catalyst for each other. Your photos are magnificent!!

  9. Donna thanks so much for your take on perspective I love moving around my subject and get frustrated with my tripod. I am off to check out your links.

  10. Beautiful, and I learned a lot about perspective as well!

  11. every photo is so gorgeous!

  12. I had to smile at the last photo, love it. But al the rest is also stuning!

  13. The tulips in the boots are great!

  14. I stop and linger on each of your photos - you have such a talent : )


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