WEEK 47: LOOKING UP

While we stand up, we rarely can see directly up at a 90-degree angle from the ground. We’re always at a little angle looking in one direction. Our height contributes to a different perspective than if you were lying on the ground looking directly up towards the sky…

worm's-eye view photography of forest
Photo by Aldino Hartan Putra on Unsplash

For me from a nature point of view, the stereotypical look-up at the trees image comes to mind. There’s such a diversity of tree lines and cloud textures including sunsets and sunrises to make every one of those images look different and still palatable.

closeup photo of brown and blue ceiling
Photo by Pau Sayrol on Unsplash

This doesn’t mean we’re limited to the outdoors and nature. Even indoors, looking up, the potential of photographing something becomes interesting just because of the unusual perspective. This can be as much of a chandelier in your entry way to the ceiling of a church, temple, castle or museum.

low angle view photography of brown high rise building
Photo by John Macdonald on Unsplash

From an architectural perspective, indoors and outdoors can present countless possibilities from a perspective we rarely take advantage of.

black and grey camera on brown leaves during daytime
Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

My technique to accomplish this in any condition is simple, put your camera flat on its back on the ground and let it point up. Naturally, make sure it’s a safe surface for your camera. I sometimes use a small bean bag type cushion to lay the camera on. Most cameras being weather-sealed to a certain degree, I don’t worry too much about things like humid leaves. For sanitary purposes, I would recommend using at least a little piece of cardboard to lay your camera on.

black security camera
Photo by Anthony Vela on Unsplash

Depending on the environment you are going to photograph, you will probably be needing a wide-angle lens. Regardless of if it’s a smartphone or a Full-Frame DSLR, you’ll need 24mm equivalent or better. Setting yourself in a hyperfocal will help as well or you can do your focus prior to putting the camera down.

You’ll probably need to use a remote or set the camera in self-timer mode. Since we’re using a camera low to the ground with a wide-angle, you’ll need to get out of the way…

I started using this technique while visiting castles and churches in Europe. Most places won’t let you use a tripod and this ends up being a great technique to capture ceilings. My Nikon DSLR in bracketing mode will take the series of bracketed exposures all at once when set to self-timer. This allows me to do some great HDR images as well.

DEFINING YOUR CHALLENGE:

Create one image of a subject captured pointing the camera directly up at a right angle from the ground.

The subject can be indoors or outdoors.

The image can be Color or B&W and creative processing is welcome.

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2020photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2020 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.

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