Extreme Perspective Photography Suggestions
It’s inside every fiber of my being to never, ever take a shot with my camera unless it’s either firmly hand-held or secured atop a tripod. What kind of pictures can you get when you finally get brave enough to let go and lay your camera down?
I decided to try some bug-perspective pictures right inside some plants. I haven’t gone totally crazy, though; I brought along a little towel to keep dirt and moisture off the rear of my camera as I laid it down on the ground or inside the nook of some branches. The bunched-up towel was also handy to help aim the camera.
Aloe with 8mm fisheye lens
I used my 8mm Rokinon fisheye at a short focus distance and stopped down the aperture to f/16. I also used a self-timer or remote control so that I could get out of the way during the shot. This definitely isn’t a general-purpose lens, but it can make great photos with extreme perspective. The effect I’m after here only works with super-wide lenses. You could get improved focus depth using focus-stacking software with multiple shots, but this single-shot technique works pretty well (and avoids problems with wind).
For some shots, the 180-degree view and curved lines were a bit much, so I used the Lightroom “lens profile corrections”. This lets you get the lines straight (it becomes a rectilinear lens), at the cost of about 2 millimeters of focal length.
I also went straight from Lightroom to my HDR Efex Pro 2. People either love or hate this stuff; I’m in for former group.
I waited for cloudy conditions; I think the sky looks far more dramatic with heavy cloud cover, especially with HDR.
Camera lying on a protective towel
The shot above shows how I would fluff up a hand towel under the camera to help line up the shot. A beanbag would work even better for this, if it’s not too thick (bugs are short).
Aloe Ferox from a bug’s perspective
Camera resting inside a Protea bush
Inside a succulent plant in full bloom
If you constrain yourself to tripods or hand-holding, you’re going to miss out on some very interesting picture opportunities. Other than a super-wide lens, you don’t need any special equipment to try this.
You obviously aren't constrained to just laying the camera on its back. The key is to get low, close, or underneath. Find a way to get your camera to somewhere you can't get your eye.
Make sure you don’t get too cocky and rest your expensive camera on a flimsy branch that can snap off with the first light breeze. You might even consider using a safety line or camera strap to connect your gear to a sturdy branch so it doesn’t accidentally come hurtling out of that tree. Happy shooting.