Perspective and Focus Matters
I am writing this to attempt to convey my opinion on why perspective and focus matters in my photography. My style is mostly from an odd angle for a lot of my best work. I try to capture the essence of the subject from slightly different views. The subject being the gear teeth is this machinery.
I have shot this location a few times, and I always try to vary the perspective and focus of each shot. The technique is simple though sometimes hard to implement based on the surroundings. I think about what the subject might look like to a child at 30″ off of the ground, or a spider in a web or a bird flying by. I didn’t think this up.
My style is based on the styles others have used before me that I found pleasing to look at. Finding a mindset to shoot with is more the issue than actually snapping the photo. Perspective can be very bland if it doesn’t have a subject of it’s own. Say, the eye level of a child or the sight from a location that an insect might view from. Stick a GoPro on your dog’s collar and video what he sees when you walk through the door after work, and you’ll get the idea.
The photo below is the original and the top image is the finished cropped version. Cropping defines the subject and focus of the piece to what you see in your mind. I always composite the shot for what I want to end up with rather than the scene as a whole. I cropped this to remove the lack of sky and the business of the railing on the right side that has a nice leading line, but takes the eye past the point of interest to the end of the shot. More railing was unnecessary to keep the lead line intact. The idea of center axis of the gear shaft itself adds to the leading line effect as well as the symmetry of the gears in relation to each other.
I focus on the rusty gears to add dimension and contrast that accentuate the point of interest. I keep it simple during a shoot.
Don’t get too caught up in the technical aspect of photography if you want to make pleasing photos would be my advice. There are too many times “we miss the forest for the trees”. Keeping your mind on what is possible rather than what your eye sees is the key.
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