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Personal Pearls of Wisdom

Personal Pearls of Wisdom: Seeing is Believing

Creating the sensation of height.

Creating the sensation of height.

One of the many ways to create visual interest and tension is to get the viewer to  believe what he’s seeing is actually what he thinks he’s seeing (make any sense?), and one of the ways to do that is to trick the camera (which has one eye…the lens) into creating a sense of perspective, or depth, or height (that requires two eyes), or all three at the same time. Sound complicated? Well, in actuality, it’s fairly easy and straightforward.

It starts with an idea you have that’s implanted into the viewer’s imagination. It needs to be something he’s familiar with whether it be from watching TV, reading a book, or perhaps something that he’s actually experienced in the past.

Then you need just one thing…a wide angle lens, a great sunrise, and the perfect environment.

An entire lesson is what my online class with the PPSOP works on, and when the occasion arises in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I can physically show my fellow photographers exactly what I mean and how to achieve it…in the camera.

The above photo was taken during one of my Maine Media Workshops (watch for it next July 26th, 2015). I was looking for just the right location to show the class how to use a wide angle lens to create the feeling of height, visual interest and tension. It was about thirty minutes before the sun came up and I desperately wanted to find something that had potential. It’s important here to tell you that the workshop was during the last week of July and the first week in August, and although it was chilly that morning the high that day was going to be close to 85 degrees.

Having said that, We passed by a huge lot filled with Rock Salt used to spread on the highways during the upcoming winter months; an idea immediately began forming in my mind. I had my assistant put on a yellow hooded sweatshirt I just happen to have in my assortment of props and wardrobe I always carry around…just for this moment.

I put on my “go to” lens which was my 20-35m, and I set the focal length at 20mm and got down close to the ground. I positioned the lens right behind a big chunk of salt so I could “anchor it in the foreground, creating layers of interest” and depth by getting “up close and personal” to it. while providing texture to the salt. I waited for the sun to just come up enough to light the top of the pile, keeping everything else in shadow.

It worked like a charm, creating the feeling that the man was considerably higher that the fifteen feet he actually was, and the rock Salt created the snow, and the look/idea I was hoping for.

The production shot was taken after my shot and from a different position; when the sun was up much higher and the sky much bluer. It’s merely to show you how high my assistant actually was, and how I could trick the camera…and the viewer.

Taken 30 minutes after sunrise.

Taken 30 minutes after sunrise.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Keep those photos and question coming into:AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a video critique.


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