Perspective is Everything

As another year comes to an end (in the next few days) it’s hard to remember that just one year ago we were looking with all the hope in the world at 2021 as it approached and left behind a monumentally bad 2020 somewhere in the past.

This year hasn’t quite been the surprise gut punch that 2020 had been, but those second, third and fourth punches tend to hurt just as much as that first one, even if you start to get used to them after a while.

Certainly it wasn’ that bad, you say.

No. Certainly not. Certainly it could have been worse.

What is one thing you’d like your kid to know about the year 2021?

In fact, I’ve had plenty of reason to look at the world from a different perspective this past year.

That old life, the one we had pre-pandemic, was still pretty much hanging on by a thread back at the start of this year. I don’t write about a lot of these things, but between work, home, self, and family a lot has changed since we hung that old calendar up on the wall twelve months ago.

So, really, my perspective has really changed… even though I’m still sitting in that same desk looking at the same screen day after day.

Pespective. It’s something a lot of us have gained this year.

Putting things into a new perspective is not an easy thing to do, and sometimes it takes a jostle to one’s life to make that shift. Travel does wonders for giving us perspective. New experiences, new sights, new foods, new cultures. Waking up in a different climate or time zone, with the sun shining through a different set of blinds shakes us out of our routine.

Or, one can live through a disaster, one of nature or of health or of countless other dark horsemen. That’s something a lot of us tried this year, and it shook us all out of our routines.

What did that teach us?

I’m sure it taught us lots of different things, each individually something unique and personal… but I’d be willing to bet that all of us have learned a little about perspective in the last year.

Not every year is going to be this way.

But that was 2021.

Thirty one topics. Thirty one posts. Not exactly a list… but close. In December I like to look back on the year that was. My daily posts in December-ish are themed-ish and may contain spoilers set against the backdrop of some year-end-ish personal exposition.

Focus: Low Angle Perspectives Bring Visual Interest to Snapshots

Regular readers may have noticed that I often include my own photos with many of my daily blog posts. It’s not an accident that I often have a pretty great shot to accompany something that I’m writing about, or have actually just sat down and written about a photo that I liked.

This is because I count photography among the most consistent of my hobbies.

There are so many tips and tricks that photographer use to make their shots more visually interesting, and many of those do not require any special equipment. On this meta Monday I thought I’d dig a little deeper into that.

One example of a simple trick is just this: adjusting your perspective.

How often have you come back from vacation and sorted through the hundreds of photos you’ve taken and, while you may have many beautiful shots, you also felt a little blah about the snapshot style that you stuck with for the whole trip?

The thing about cameras is that whether you are using something with an eyepiece or a screen, we so often hold them up to our face-level to snap.

But hot tip: your face is not actually part of the photo-taking process. In fact, it may be contributing to that underwhelmed feeling that comes with mundane snapshots.

I think as humans we tend to find engaging things that seem familiar but are just a little bit askew. When you take a snapshot, the scene, angles, perspectives are all familiar, but the photo isn’t as engaging as it could be because it’s almost too normal.

When the scene seems a little bit too normal, I often find myself crouching down, setting my camera on or close to the ground, or even just holding the camera near a hip, A simple change of the angle of the photo can create a photo with an unusual line of sight into a scene that is something our eyes are used to seeing all the time.

This off-kilter perspective can make visual interest and that can often lead you to a great photograph.