Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics of photography to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

The Dark Horse Region

The Dark Horse Region
A View into the center of the Milky Way

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Creative Angles

I stood on the far side of a narrow street next to a set of railroad tracks and tried to frame a three-story, old red brick building in my view finder. The pictures I was capturing did not carry much punch and I could not figure out why. The old building was a beautiful example of turn of the century architecture with an amazing rustic look with the word HOTEL embossed in a lighter shade of brick across one corner, but my shots were ordinary. I knew something was there photographically, I just was not seeing it. Then I tried a different techique; I rotated the camera to about a 30- 35 degree angle and lined up the word HOTEL so it appeared almost horizontal and placed it in the upper left corner of the composition with the windows angling across the frame instead of vertical. What appeared became the striking image I knew was there.

Creative angles in a photograph can stir things up to where what might might otherwise be ordinary becomes distinctive and eye catching. It is a great technique to use to create images that surpass what we see everyday and expand those visualizations into something that is at once recognizable yet extraordinarily different.

Using straight leading lines combined with offset vertical lines will break up the image to generate visual interest. Take the image above. Railroad tracks are often used as examples of leading lines, but notice the straight vertical lines of the old smoke tower on the left and the horizonal lines of the yellow school bus on the right and the level lines of the horizon in the distance at the end of the tracks. Combine all of those elements with the stark gray nature of the overall image and you have a striking example of how creative angles and lines can define an image.

Creative angles can be generated by the photographer as in the first example, or they can be used by the photographer as found in the composition. The image below is good example of using creative angles that were a part of the scene being photographed. Do you see them?

Curves make for great creative angles. They add a graceful element to any composition and when combined with powerful lighting effects, they become a powerfully creative, eye catching style. Here's an image where the gentle curve of the long leaf and the gentle arch of the background foliage was used to great effect in great light.


There are many subtle ways to improve your compositions photographically. Thinking in terms of creative angles will add a dynamic to your images that will separate them from ordinary snapshots. Creative photography is exactly that...that is to think creatively. Simply photographing objects alone will often create cliche looking photographs, but adding simple elements of design such as angles or curves changes the dynamics of the ordinary into something much more asthetically pleasing. By doing so it not only adds a unique flavor and style to your images, it will stimulate your own creative instincts.


No comments: