Photography From an Ant's Point of View
If you ever wanted to do a photography challenge that was fun, intriguing and innovative all at the same time then this is it.
The subject matter does not matter much, neither does what type of gear, lenses, or anything else matter much so long as you are able to take good pictures.
The challenge is really simple and it only involves taking pictures of anything that you fancy but while laying on the ground.
In other words you will be photographing your subjects from the same angle that an ant would see everything.
Yous should also choose a wide variety of subjects. Don't do only flowers for example. Yes do flowers and do trees but also include people and the fun thing about it is that the people can pretend to be standing right above you as if you were really an ant.
This adds a whole new perspective to how you and your viewers see the world and this is what makes the project itself so intriguing and interesting in the first place.
Yes you are probably going to get dirty but that's part of the fun and the better part of the challenge is to have fun yet use your creativity. The best lens would probably be a regular 55mm one but using a zoom can yield very unusual result too and so would a wide angle one.
Coincidentally a wide angle lens and the 55mm allows you to crop much better than a zoom.
Something to consider, at the low angle that the project is supposed to be in you might not be able to look through the viewfinder.
Low angle shots will inevitably show elements that are near and far which in part is a reason for their appeal. Play with the aperture to judge what appeals more to you.
Also remember that by looking up you are going to inevitably include parts of the sky on some occasions. This will limit the apertures range if you set the camera on automatic.
The best alternative is to set the aperture yourself (aperture priority) by using the manual mode and if your camera features depth of field preview, take advantage of it.
You will thus need to keep both eyes open and take the shot by instinct rather than relying on what you could have seen if you had been able to see the subject through the viewfinder. Of course this may not be an issue if your camera features a flip screen.
When ready to compose the shot keep in mind that the camera might not be completely level. If you don't mind fixing it in post production with Photoshop or any other digital editing software then you are OK.
If not then do your best to keep the camera level while composing and subsequently taking the shot.
Pay attention to the light especially of the one emanating form the sky during a sunny day. You need to decide if you want the sky to be prevalent or if the foreground is more important.
Since the main idea is to capture subjects as they would be seen if you were the size of an ant, I suggest focusing on the subject and accepting that some images may feature what we call a blown out sky.
However if you want a middle ground and you want a lot of sky or clouds to be clearly defined, underexpose. If the foreground is too important or an integral part of the scene then overexpose and accept that the sky will more than likely be "washed out".
A very useful technique and one you should use often is to quickly review the shot right after you have taken it and fix or recompose on the spot.
Something else to be aware of, when shooting from such a low angle, your subject will appear to be larger than life due to the perspective.
Try to fill the frame completely with the subject but if there's an interesting backdrop then leave a little space on the frame for it.
This challenge is also great for shooting silhouettes. Most silhouette shots are usually captured while the photographer is standing up and facing the subject but you can sometimes end up with lots of dark space behind the subject and this can get confusing.
This is a good overall composition but if you want to do more captivating silhouettes photos lay very low on the ground and compose the shot so that the subject is posed against a much brighter element like the sky.
Silhouette photos have much more of an impact when they have a mostly plain bright background behind them. Shooting from a low angle will help you get more sky behind your silhouettes.
Another key technique is to use a backlight whether artificial or natural. Not only are you capturing a subject in an unusual angle but the backlight tends to reveal more texture and show more detail plus a better color than if they image would have been shot at a normal angle.
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So finally keep in mind that low angle shots can turn a mundane object into something that forces the gaze to fall upon it because it is a perspective that is rarely seen and we are not accustomed to looking at things this way.
The strange perspective is something that calls our attention and makes us wonder at these same differences and that's why we are basically forced to look at it.
You must have seen low angle shots of very popular landmarks like for example the Eiffel Tower and surely noticed how different it appears when not seen from the way it looks in an eye level shot.
That’s in reality the beauty of a low angle shot. It adds a different dimension to an ordinary subject no matter what the subject matter happens to be.
- How to Frame a Low-Angle Shot Like a Master Cinematographer
Get the lowdown on low-angle shots from master filmmakers like Kubrick and Tarantino!
© 2016 Luis E Gonzalez
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