Wednesday, 11 March 2009

All about Composition and your Camera

All about Composition and your Camera



Things near the camera will be depicted larger than others farther away. The basic laws of perspective cannot be tampered with. Yet, the apparent comparative size of near and far will seemingly change when changing the lens. Lens with different focal length will open up different angles of view to the same camera. Lenses of long focal length give a narrow angle of view, producing a large picture of the central scene and leaving out most of the things left and right in front of the lens. Lenses of short focal length give a wide angle of view, producing a smaller picture of the central scene but taking in more of the things left and right in front of the lens. The difference can be appreciable. Lenses of the longest focal length may show a angle as narrow as 10 or even 5 degrees only,, while lenses of the shortest focal length may cover an angle of 75 or even over 100 degrees.
Obviously, the shorter the focal length - that is, the wider the angle and the broader the foreground - the more imposingly will subject near the camera stand out against everything placed further away. Reversed, the longer the focal length - the narrower the angle and the smaller the foreground - the fewer the chances of foreground subjects to be depicted as a whole, while the centre of the picture will be recorded enlarged, sometimes covering the background altogether.
The choice of the foreground,centre and background in conjunction with a carefully selected and a suitable viewpoint will amplify one pictorial element and reduce some others. It will make an insignificant tree-trunk in front of us domineering, while the ten thousand feet mountain peak, farther back, become a mere decorative addition - or vice versa.
But we can do even more. We can crouch down with our camera, making our subject tower over us; or look down, dwarfing it from some higher point of view. Low viewpoints will lift subjects out of their surroundings, making their own dimensions the only dominant ones in the picture. High viewpoints, in contrast, widen the floor space and introduce plenty of dimensional comparisons. Low viewpoints accentuate the outline of the subject. High viewpoints are likely to blot it out.
This, however, belongs almost to the next installment on photographic emphasis.