It’s not because I’m used to it, though I am after all these years, but the world is just so boring when seen from where my eyes are normally at. It’s painful really. As a result I constantly strive to find a different way of seeing things. Getting my camera away from my usual eye level is pretty much a given with me. Is it more interesting from the perspective of a five year old? A dog, a bug? Maybe if I took the shot from a Shaquille O’Neal level would that be neat-o? Would it be even cooler if I took the shot while standing on Shaq’s shoulders? Ah, now we are getting somewhere!
I wear out all my shoes and jeans at a stupefying rate because I’m always kneeling, crawling and climbing to get a new angle. If there is a chair, ladder or overlook position available, I’ll be up there at some time to get a high angle. If there is anything on the ground, it will most likely end up in my hair or on my shirt because I’ll be down doing “the worm” to get a super swell look at things from the eye level of a cocker spaniel.
One of the reasons that it took some people a while to find the exact angle that Ansel Adams got for some of his famous images was that he didn’t shoot them from remotely eye level but from a platform on his car:
When we got the whole “live view” option on our cameras back in 2009 it made for much more precision when shooting overhead shots. It was no longer a “hail Mary” shot but a “Well looky there!” shot. If I can shoot tethered I can use live view when my camera in a position that couldn’t possibly include my head to get, say, perspective of being inside something. Perspective! I try to do my best to see things from 360 degrees around my subject to the best of my ability because somewhere in there is a perspective that is, well, interesting. Inclusion, exclusion … options and opportunities.
A while ago I was commissioned to do photos of Renegade Brewing here in Denver. If you have ever been in a working microbrewery you know that they are kinda cramped and getting perspectives can be tricky. I was up on the deck with Brian O’Connell the owner and head brewer while he was making a batch and after working a bunch of things I went really wide and high to get this:
It was my fave frame of the day because it’s just different. And different, hopefully in a thought provoking way, is what I live for.