Sunday, December 21, 2014

Camera Position

In this exercise you're going to experiment with putting the camera in different places, and orienting it differently.

Find a subject that you like, that you can spend some time shooting, and that has quite a bit of space around it. You'll want to get close, you'll want to stand far away. If you can get up high, as well as down low, that would be a plus.

If you are using a zoom lens, set it to one zoom position and leave it there for the entire exercise. Pick a zoom level that feels about "normal", not too wide, not all telephoto-y.

Find a starting position, somewhere to stand. Middle distance to the subject. If it's possible to get up high above the the subject by climbing something, or going up some steps, or similar, select your starting position near where you would do that, but don't go up just yet.

Pick a set of Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO settings that seem right to you based on previous exercises. You might choose to center the meter, or to go a little one way or the other from the center. Pick these settings now, and stick with them for the exercise. Take a picture and check it on the back of the camera, to make sure you're getting what you had in mind. Then, begin:

Exercise 1.

Standing in your starting position, take a picture of your subject. This is your baseline picture, the first impulse. The odds are excellent that it's pretty boring.

Move closer to the subject, taking pictures as you move in. Let the subject fill the frame completely, and then slop out of the frame. Move in until some detail of the subject is most of the frame.

Return to your original position, and now back away from the subject, continuing to take pictures, until the subject is quite small in the frame.

Exercise 2.

Return to the first place you took a picture.

Crouch down a little and take a picture. Crouch lower and take another. Kneel and take another. Try to get as low as you can, now, and take a final picture.

If you can go up higher over the subject, do that now, taking a series of pictures.

Exercise 3.

Return to your starting position. Or, if you prefer, some other location you've tried out, if somewhere else particularly appealed to you.

Turn your camera 90 degrees, shutter button on the top (unless you've been shooting that way all along, in that case, turn it to the horizontal configuration, shutter button on the right). Take a picture. Try it at various angles in between the "horizontal" and "vertical" orientations.

Now go and review all these pictures. Spend a little time with each one.

How do you feel about each shot? More importantly, how do you feel about one shot versus a different one?

How does the picture look with the camera down low to the ground, versus high up in the air?

How does the picture look when you are close to the subject versus far away?

How does the picture look vertical versus slanted versus horizontal?

Which picture is the best one?

Make notes in your notebook about your reactions to these pictures. The subject is the same, even the exposure is the same (since you left the Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO alone. The only thing which changed was camera position and orientation. How does that effect the pictures?

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