Change Your Point of View

Roger with Box Turtles

Duncan posted a bit of a write up on changing your point of view when taking photos. Specifically, take a typical scene and shoot a picture from something other than the typical sight line.

So true.

This was shot while lying on my belly with the camera on the deck in front of me. I had to cock my head at a painful angle to actually get an eye on the viewfinder.


When moving from my Sony F-505 to the Canon Digital Rebel, I find that I really miss the 505’s ability to pivot lens from the viewfinder (505 used an LCD, later models also had a digital viewfinder).

It was genius. You could pivot the LCD upwards of 90 degrees off axis from the lens and shoot the scene in front of you from your hip or shoot way over your head while actually seeing what you were shooting!

It was a shining example of Sony’s potential to achieve brilliant hardware design and software implementation in a single package.

I honestly believe that my experience with the 505 contributed greatly to my success while stumbling through the newbie stage of dealing with a proper– if relatively entry level– digital SLR.

To get this rather dramatic shot, I was balanced on the loading deck of the back of a truck sandwiched between the truck and a chain link fence, putting the camera an extra 6 feet off the ground.

Roger and Irises

That is, I’m not afraid to lie in the dirt to get a shot from an interesting angle and I have been known to balance precariously on top of a stack of unstable objects to grab a scene from a unique angle.

Blue Metallic Bug Detail

This is also likely why I really dig the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. It is just so terribly sharp while offering a focal length that both provides a bit of zoomery while still being short enough to allow one to easily walk back/forth a few feet as necessary to frame a subject appropriately.

This is a seemingly simple shot. But think about how it would have looked if I shot from a comfortable standing position — the flowers would have been just below my eye level and would have completely blocked Roger. This angle gives a much better perspective of just how bloody big these iris were while also framing Roger’s face nicely in a ring of purple.

The Bug? That was a lie in the dirt and sharp rocks such that the sun hit the bug at just the right angle shot. Sucks when the bug flies away before you take the picture.

Winking Roger Head

All of the shots in this post are examples therein. Every one of them required either kneeling, flat out lying on the ground (or muck), or occasionally climbing into some rather precarious position.

And sometimes, it is all about taking a shot halfway between upright and lying down.

This disembodied roger head was taken somewhere between kneeling and standing. Fortunately, it was sunny enough that I could use a really darned fast shutter speed because my legs were shaking in their halfway-down/halfway-up position.

For each, imagine if the same shot were taken from the default sight line. Boring.

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8 Responses to “Change Your Point of View”

  1. Amie says:

    @John: when you work with computers all day for decades, “site” comes out automatically. I do it all the time, myself!

    @bbum: I totally agree; so many of my best shots were taken in the most awkward, uncomfortable positions. Particularly the ones where I get down to the level of my kids. Makes for much better photos. Btw, all three of those Roger pics are excellent!

  2. John C. Randolph says:


    Yeah, I know. The faster we type, the more likely we are to write inadvertent homonyms. That’s why I pointed it out.


  3. bbum says:

    Thanks, John. (I deleted John’s original comment without realizing that folks would be having an entire conversation about my poor grammar/spelling habits. 🙂

  4. annbb/TSannie says:

    My godson is the most handsome boy in the whole wide world!

    Love the iris photo.


  5. Mark Bessey says:

    This is one of those lessons I keep having to learn over and over again. It’s particularly bad with wide-angle lenses. Take a shot at eye level with a super-wide lens, and it’s going to tend to totally bore people. But take that same shot lying in the dirt, or with the camera resting on a fence rail, and sudenly, the picture really “pops”.

    Incidentally, have you looked to see if Canon makes an assessory viewfinder for your camera? I know that many of the Nikon cameras can take an optional right-angle viewfinder (not the D50 I’m currently using, unfortunately).

  6. James Duncan Davidson says:

    Great follow up and I love the examples you pulled out. I’m about to decide that you really know you’re on the track of a good photograph by how your muscles feel 🙂

  7. bbum says:

    Hah! Thanks.

    So true — you know you are out of shape when you have to bump the ISO to get the shutter speed down so your quivering muscles don’t blur the shot!

  8. dino delellis says:

    Kewl , the your pictures are so very well done , the one with the flowers are so vibrant , the one with the Tiger Beetle is so intriguing and the disembodied head is a very very cool trick.

    Thanks for you tips they are really very useful ^^

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