When you stand on a country road and look down the length of it, the road appears to narrow. If it's lined with a fenced-in pasture, the fence posts appear smaller the farther away from you they are. We live in a three dimensional world but, our photos are two dimensional. When composing a photo with perspective in mind you can use it to give the picture depth beyond what you can achieve with aperture settings. You can utilize objects in the scene to give the viewer a sense of scale, or, you can position your camera where you distort the sense of scale dramatically.
It wasn't too long ago I'd get upset when trying to compose a shot of a tourist trap, like the castle walls here in Okinawa and some tourists would arrive on the scene. I'd have to wait for them to depart so I could get my shot of what I wanted, a castle and nothing else.
Nowadays, I shoot both ways, with and without tourists in the scenes because I know they add a scale to my photos. When they're really cooperative and sign a release for me to publish their picture, as these girls visiting Zakimi Castle were, they get free copies of the shot sent to them. And you or anyone else can probably guess how tall the castle walls are or determine if you'd have to duck your head walking through the archway.
In the photo of the Shisa (Lion-dog) with a 10 story hotel in the background, I used perspective for a more dramatic effect. By moving my position, relative to the hotel, around until I saw what I wanted in the viewfinder, I was able to make the Shisa appear to dwarf the hotel. The statue is probably around twenty feet tall. Both photos were taken with an aperture setting of f/11. Had I desired to blur the background and make the hotel seem farther away or less prominent in the photo, I'd have used a setting such as f/2.8 or f/3.5 and probably would have except I wanted Japanese to be able to read Royal Hotel to the top of the building just in case they want to visit the largest Shisa in Okinawa.
Imagine what kind of shot you could create with a pizza pie at the Leaning Tower of Pizza. All you need is a little imagination, a plane ticket, your camera, tripod and some perspective. Until next time, Happy Shooting!
A wildlife photographer living in Okinawa, Japan, Mike has been published in Apogee Photo Magazine, Boots N all, Brave New Traveler, Go Nomad, Matador Abroad and Trips, The Nihon Sun, Travel Thru History, The Okinawan , Wend Magazine and Photo Guide Japan. He has recently joined the ranks of travel writers, capturing Nature, Festivals, Castles and Cultural shots of the Ryukyu Islands to share with the world.
As always great story.
I have a question. When I shoot while traveling, I do end up with lots of photos like your example of the tourists. I would have not gotten a release signed because it would be impossible to identify the people in the shot. The same would be true of people in a shot with their backs to the camera or a shot so blurred that recognition is impossible. Of course, very few of my photos get published, but should I change my opinion on this one and start getting releases whenever possible?
Thanks in advance.
Currently, blogs are exempt from the requirement to have signed releases but, there is a push underway to have that changed. Magazines have always required signed release forms for any identifiable persons.
It’s just a matter of time before someone wins a multi-million dollar lawsuit, Anywhere USA for having their photo posted online without their consent, I predict.
So, I never put anyone’s photo online without a signed release form, just to be safe.
If you type “Model Releases for Photography” in any search engine you can find plenty of detailed information and even sites that let you download the forms free.
Hope this helps.
I’m having the same problem. I mean: how do you get a release signed in a country in a rural area where your subject doesn’t understand a word of what you are saying and can’t read and write? And they of course, are the most interesting ones to catch on film.
Thats an easy one to answer. I had a local who spoke English, handwrite mine in Japanese.
After I had a guy at the camera shop I frequent read it over and he told me it was excellent, I scanned and printed 100’s of them.
I rarely use an English language form these days. You may be able to but printed forms in the foreign country at an office or camera supply store.
Perhaps ask your travel agent to research it. Someone’s got to be making a bundle with their cut of the big bucks it’s costing to take you essentials on da plane, da plane. Prices go up/services are trimmed, make them work for their cut of the pie!
Thanks for these great tips! I’m always waiting for people to get out of the way of my photos 🙂 Now i’ll just snap away and see what kind of perspective they add to my pics – thanks mike!
Thank you. Keep coming back and I’ll keep trying to post tips to help turn your snapshots into award-winning travel photos!
Good tips, will be reading more. I spent a week in Cornwall (Southwest England) in April and took almost a thousand photographs of old buildings and the wonderful countryside. I could use some good photography tips to improve my work.
Thank you and welcome to Camera Talk. I try and have something new here at least weekly and enjoy hearing from people around the world.