Exercise 2.3

‘Choose a subject in front of a background with depth. Select your shortest focal
length and take a close low viewpoint, below your subject. Find a natural point of
focus and take the shot.
You’ll see that a very wide lens together with a close viewpoint creates extreme
perspective distortion. Gently receding lines become extreme diagonals and rounded
forms bulge towards the camera. Space appears to expand. The low viewpoint adds
a sense of monumentality, making the subject seem larger than it is, and tilting
the camera adds to the effect as vertical lines dramatically converge. Not the ideal
combination for a portrait shot!’

Example 1


View 1500 x 1000


There’s noticeable distortion of the objects on the background, while the foreground object is very imposing and ‘in your face’.


Example 2


View 1500 x 1000


I’m not noticing so much distortion here… (though the roofline of the rightmost building does seem to be pulled down onto the stone carving in the foreground), but the off kilter viewpoint makes for a very dynamic shot, bringing attention to and accentuating the motion of the people in the background.


Example 3


View 1500 x 1000


Distortion seems to be subtle here, and indeed, on all of these shots. I’m not sure how much that is down to the kit lens being a bit ‘vanilla’, or if I’m just doing it wrong. There is clearly distortion, but but none of it is what I’d consider extreme. That being said, it may just be that I’m used to seeing such images, and my expectation of what constitutes ‘extreme’ is what’s been distorted.

The lack of any leading lines in these shots is probably a factor too. I think I’ll need to come back to this.