Each spring, the hay fields in my area are inundated with thousands of daisies. It's a wonderful sight to see and undoubtedly draws me in to try and capture a few images. This past spring was no different. One particularly pleasant evening I hopped in my car and drove down a local side road until I reached one field that was still nicely lit by the rapidly setting sun.
I grabbed my Olympus OMD E-M1 and, since I wanted to capture the expanse of this floral landscape, I attached my M.Zuiko 7-14mm PRO lens. I jumped the fence (yes, I am guilty of trespassing on occasion) and walked about 30 feet into the field. The daisies were everywhere, so finding the perfect spot was easy.
I had already pictured the image - one large, photogenic daisy, set against thousands, and nicely lit by the orange glow of the sun. I checked my camera settings, composed a shot and...
Anyone who has been in the photography game for awhile has certainly heard this sage advice - "always walk around your subject and look for new angles", or "the first place you put your tripod is the worst place to put your tripod". Well, I wasn't using a tripod and I still wanted my subjects backlit by the sun. That left two possible options - shoot high or shoot low. I chose to shoot low.
Time to recompose and...
I'll let you decide which image is better. That's not really important here. By taking a few moments to think about the scene in front of me, and by placing my camera where my eyes never go (I'm 6' 2" and these daisies were at knee height), I created, what I think of as, a more interesting image.
Well, there really isn't one, except perhaps - move and shoot (or is that, shoot and move). Each scene is different, but your viewer will be far more engaged if you offer an unusual view of your subject. Some suggestions include;
- shoot higher than eye level
- shoot lower than eye level
- shoot straight up or straight down
- move in close or back away
- frame your subject - use a door, window, arch, tree branch (this is a whole blog post on its own)
- switch lenses or focal lengths (again another blog post)
I have found that perspective and patience go hand-in-hand. When I arrive at a location I often have to take a deep breath and force myself to slow down. I may have a shot in mind and be quite focused on achieving it. Once I've got it, I force myself to look around and see if there are other (and perhaps better) vantage points from which to capture the scene.
Here is an example. Abandoned farm houses are a favourite subject of mine. The one pictured below is about 30 minutes from my home. Shortly after the snow melted this year I decided to spend some time photographing it. Again, I had an initial image in mind.
A Few More Examples
Whether you move your camera a few inches (as with the daisy shots) or many meters, experiment with a variety of angles. This will provide you with a range of images to choose from and improve your photographic vision.