In photography, we can not control everything. It is one of the best parts of the medium. However, we should always make sure to try and be aware of the things in the image we can control. One of the key components, that I think is often overlooked but is so important, is point of view. Point of view is the location from where the camera (photographer) sees the scene. Where we put the camera can really make a huge impact on what we see and feel when we look at our photographs. Shooting from above, below, at eye level can all dramatically change a viewers understanding of a image.
I was reminded of this when I was looking at some images from a trip to the Palouse region a number of years ago. Without any clouds and the sunrise colors starting to fade, I started playing with point of view in this field. In these three images, I haven’t didn’t change my physical location. I only changed the point of view. The top image, my favorite, is shot down on the fields. This focuses the eye in on the texture and patterns of the wheat. While the other two images are only different in their focal length, the second image makes the landscape even bigger and having the sky and ground in near equal balance also implies a vastness to the land that is equal to the sky above. In the third image, the position and presence of the buildings, the photograph’s story becomes something else other than just the landscape. There is a stronger human element to the image.
Three images taken moments of part, with just a small change in point of view changes the entire story. I encourage you to spend some time when you are at a location to really think about what story you want to tell and make sure you give your self the time to capture what is important. The expense of getting to a location is often times the biggest cost. There is not much worse a feeling then coming home knowing that you didn’t take the time to find the shot that tells your story.. And, sometimes, all it takes is a small shift in your perspective to see the world in a whole new way.