Zoom In, Zoom Out for Perspective

Perspective's a big deal in art and photography, and there are two ways to look at it.

As I dashed back inside, I noticed the fern and moss I'd stuck in the glass planter a few weeks back. You wouldn't believe it, but the plant's sprouted two new fronds! Two older fronds looked brown just last week, and the whole thing seemed on its last legs. With these new fronds, I am confident the fern is back in the game. It's funny how my whole view of it has changed. It got me thinking about how we use perspective in photography. Don't ask me how my brain links these things; it just does! And because of that, I can write a blog post.

Perspective's a big deal in art and photography, and there are two ways to look at it.

First, when discussing perspective, you might mean how someone sees or thinks about something. It could be what's going on in their head or where they're standing when they look at something. You may have the perspective that anyone who can link his observation of the health of a fern to photography has lost a few screws. Maybe I have.

Fern in glass planter.
16 mm at f/2.8 · Tuesday 22 August 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1140 sec, · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Then there's the arty side of perspective. Drawing or painting is about making stuff that's 3D look right on a flat surface. Artists use it to get the size, shape, and placement of things just right, so it has real depth when you look at a subject from a certain angle.

Photography smashes these two ideas together. With the right camera settings, angles, and lights, photographers can mess around with how we see things.

The word "photograph" itself kind of hints at this. In 1839, Sir John Herschel combined the Greek words "phos" for light and "graphê" for drawing or and boom – "drawing with light."

55 mm at f/2.8 · Monday 21 August 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Messing with lighting can do all sorts of cool things to a photo. Hit something with a strong light from below, and it'll look creepy with all the shadows. Think Halloween makeup and a flashlight But light it from above or the front, and it's all warm and welcoming.

Lenses are another trick up photographers' sleeves. A long lens can squish everything together, making distances look shorter. But a short lens can give you a new view, like looking down on something.

55 mm at f/4 with MCEX-16 · Monday 21 August 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

And then there's this nifty thing called macro photography. It's like putting a magnifying glass on the camera. You can see stuff up close and personal, just as it is or even bigger. Some photographers use special tools to make it look like you're seeing the subject exactly life-size or even larger. It's all about giving a fresh perspective on what you're looking at.

What’s your perspective on perspective?

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.

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