A Perspective on Perspective


The convergence of two recent events- the purchase of a 16-35mm wide-angle lens and the participation in a photography workshop in New Brunswick, Canada, led by Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant- has brought me to a new perspective on perspective. Perspective is the illusion of depth on a flat surface. How do we photographers create depth in a two-dimensional image?

Here are two tips.

Tip #1: A wide-angle lens properly used is the best piece of equipment for creating perspective.

Set the lens at its widest length. Move in and focus down on the subject matter so that the camera attached to a tripod has as the closest foreground in the viewfinder the subject matter that is located up close to the legs of the tripod. Set the aperture to “f/99”- that is, the smallest aperture  on the lens. Focus 1/3 from the bottom of the composition. Here is the result:


Tip #2: The use of lines in your composition adds perspective with straight lines, horizontal and vertical, offering stability and rest and oblique lines adding energy, thrust and movement.


Focusing on the very near foreground with a wide-angle lens with a small aperture while creatively placing lines in the composition gives perspective. Play with it. The results can be dramatic. And thank you, Freeman Patterson.

Contributed by Sharon Brown Christopher

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