It’s all a Matter of Perspective

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

A couple of weeks ago I got a chance to hook up (pun fully intended) with a good friend to fish the West Branch of the Ausable River in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid, NY.  My friend Matt is a climbing and fishing guide as well as stone sculptor and the trip is becoming something of a post Memorial Day tradition.  In addition to photography, fly fishing is one of my great passions in life and as such I’ve been focusing (there you go, another pun) on shooting the sport more and more.  There’s such beauty in the sport, pristine river ecosystems, picturesque scenery, cool gear, lifestyle and of course awesome fish.

However, just because you’ve got all the ingredients for a great image doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the award winning shot when you trip the shutter. Great light and interesting or beautiful subjects don’t guarantee stunning shots.  9 out of 10 times it’s the composition that separates the great photograph from the mediocre.  It’s important to study and practice the tried and true “rules” of composition, things like the rule of thirds.   But, if you really want your images to look different, then you’ve got to photograph them in a different way, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to change your perspective.  I don’t mean changing your political affiliations just where you place your camera.  Next time you are photographing your favorite subject (kids, flowers, pets, etc.) try getting down on the ground, on your belly, or perhaps the opposite, shoot from up high.

Changing your perspective can benefit your composition in a number of ways.  For example, it can help to minimize or hide a distracting element in the background.  It can emphasize or even exaggerate a shape, color or texture.  And most pertinent to fishing photography it can help establish a connection between the viewer and the subject, especially a subject and environment that may be unfamiliar to a lot of people.  I find that when shooting fish it’s important to get down low and shoot from a near water’s surface perspective in an effort to create that connection.  I’ve included a variety of images below that help to illustrate how important perspective can be in crafting an image and telling a story.

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

A higher perspective for this shot really helped to isolate the angler against the water and help to establish a connection between the river and fisherman.

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

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~ by kurtbudliger on June 14, 2010.

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