Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Landscape - Project 8 - using perspective to help composition

The control of perspective in a photograph is one of the essential tools to convey depth and a 3 dimensionality. Any 3 dimensional scene or object will convey an element of perspective. It is inherent in the texture and shadows, and the knowledge we have that objects although large appear smaller at distance. The tools available for this are:

  • Form and Content
  • Linear Perspective
  • Diagonal Lines
  • Focal Length
  • Aerial Perspective
  • Tonal Perspective
  • Colour Perspective
  • Sharpness
We are asked to produce a photograph that makes obvious use of perspective to draw the eye into the frame. Any of the above techniques can be used. I have chosen 2 images that both use Linear Perspective.

Photograph 1 is a disused railway bridge near Keswick in Cumbria. The old railway route is now a footpath and the bridges are now decked and fenced. A wide angle lens (25mm) at f7 has given me almost complete depth of field by the use of hyper focal focusing. The converging handrails and the arch of the bridge combining to maximum effect in this example of linear perspective. The near symmetrical alignment enhances the perspective and the eye becomes fixed at the far side of the bridge. I have also enhanced the aspect ratio more towards panoramic. The removal of the rather bland white sky keeps the interest on the structure rather than the general landscape beyond. It is difficult to judge the length of the span of the bridge due to this unfamiliar type of structure. It would have been simple to have included a figure at the far side, but for me this geometric image works far better.

Nikon D3 17-35mm at 25mm  1/60 sec f7.1 Monopod                       

Photograph 2 uses the same linear perspective but with the addition of height and the use of a 200mm lens to demonstrate the depth in this simple landscape of a track, with a hedge and trees alongside. The tramlines (tractor tyre marks in the crop) that run parallel to the track reflect the main feature and enhance the linear perspective. The hedge at the far side of the green field acts as a stopping point for the eye and the landscape beyond is not really explored. Once again the tendency towards panoramic style removes most of the featureless sky.

Nikon D3  80-200mm at 200mm 1/320 sec f9

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