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Get Down

Get Down
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I see so many people taking pictures in same position – standing, with the camera at shoulder level, facing their subject head-on. The trouble is, their pictures all look the same! So the next time you’re out shooting, try varying your position. Kneel. Sit. Lie down. Or go in the opposite direction and stand on a stairway or look down from a parking garage. Varying your position will put variety into your photos and give you a bit of exercise as well.

In addition to changing your own position, you can change the camera’s position. There are reasons you might not want to lie on the ground: ticks, poison ivy, and arthritis among them. But today’s pocket cameras make it easy to change your angle by moving the camera up and down without scrunching too much.

The cityscape, right, was taken with my Canon Powershot G12. I have had several Canon point-and-shoot cameras, and really appreciate their variable-angle viewing screen, which rotates to almost any angle so I can hold the camera at odd angles and still see what I’m doing. This feature is great when I?m taking crowd shots. I hold the camera high over my head, point it at the crowd, and adjust the screen so I can see the composition.

Lately I’ve been using a smaller Lumix camera without the variable screen. It’s small enough to fit in my pocket, and it has a macro lens that focuses an inch from my subject. I?m learning how to shoot blind, review the picture, and try again until I get it right. It takes some practice but it’s good for subjects like small flowers. I slide the camera right under the leaves and shoot. I used this camera at the Boston Flower Show in March and got unique, interesting pictures that would have been very disruptive if I used my DSLR. I’ve also been using it for an ant’s-eye view of spring flowers.

When you put your camera close to your foreground, the foreground becomes larger in your picture and takes on more importance. The three pictures of the George Washington statue and its spring tulips show what I mean. The first was taken standing in the normal position. I was on the ground for the second. Then I inched forward a few inches at a time until I got the third composition. It’s not my favorite, but it’s a good illustration of the effect of being really close to your foreground. It’s really a picture of tulips, not the statue. A wide-angle lens accentuates this effect.

I really enjoy changing my angle of view, and I hope you have fun trying it, too.

Change shooting angles for better photos –

High and Low Camera Angles –

Low angle photography: Tips and tricks

20 Examples Of Low Angle Photography –

All photos

Updated Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

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