Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Different Perspectives – Putting your camera (and yourself) in unique places

“The clouds look so much prettier from this side”, announced the voice of the teenager leaning forward in her seat, positioning her cell phone camera for a better look out of the airplane window.  As I listened to the simulated shutter click on her phone I already had mine out.  She was right.  As our Boeing 737 lowered into the clouds as we approached PDX the sight was stunning. 

It was later in the day, a little before sunset, when the light begins to improve with each passing minute.  The clouds were really more of the thick fog that had been covering the Willamette Valley since just north of Eugene on the flight from, a much sunnier, California.  But as the plane slowed approaching the airport, the hills of Portland came alive, poking out of the layer of cotton enveloping the city.  Sometimes it was a large estate surrounded by a large, green pasture and a white fence.  Next another summit would pop out with no evidence of the hand of man – just pristine wilderness minutes from, and five hundred feet above the busy city. 

Other times there was no evidence of earth, just a silky weave of textures stretching endlessly to the western horizon.  In just the few minutes of the descent, the light continued to change as subtle hues danced atop the fabric.  Suddenly all was white as we plunged into the clouds.

As we emerged below, stringy lengths of grey fog hung from the cloud above.  The ever important light now flat.  It now seem night time; a stark contrast from the bright show just a few hundred feet above.  Both my neighbor and I return our phones to our pockets (many airlines now allow you to keep your phone on and in “airplane” mode for the entire flight). 

The young lady seated next to me on the flight absolutely had it right; we get better photos when we place our cameras in places that are unique.  In this case it was above the clouds but it doesn’t need to be in a faraway location.  When photographing young children, we can get our cameras closer to their eye level by kneeling down.  When traveling, photographing from higher (or lower) vantage points can provide a welcome fresh perspective.  It doesn’t need to be difficult, just try to get your camera in a different place other than your eye level on the beaten path.  Even if you click the shutter, you might enjoy the view yourself!