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One of my favorite type of photo to produce are ones displaying interesting and larger-than-life objects, put in to perspective with a little human touch. It doesn’t have to be a human though; a car, animal, tree… really anything you might be able to gauge the size of will suffice. The reason this helps is a simple one; sometimes the mammoth feeling you might get from looking at a mountain, lake, building, or any other large object will not transcend to the viewer once you take the photo. Simply put, they will not see or feel what you did when you were there. By adding this extra element, it will help you to better tell the story.
I have a few images today to help you understand what I mean. The first two were taken a week and a half ago in the Gran Sasso Mountain Range on the Corno Grande hike. The last two are older shots but help to convey this idea as well.
The first photo shows my friend Brian as he sizes up the peak, giving you a feel for how big the Corno Grande summit really is. I made him my model for about 10 minutes as I tried out a variety of angles, lenses, and settings, until I was happy with the results. If you look at this photo closely, you can see vanishing points, leading lines, a (modified) rule of thirds, and more.
This second shot I took the next morning while hiking to the summit. About 2/3 of the way up, we stopped to take a water break and spotted a group of mountain deer. I saw an opportunity to place them in the frame, while including one of the peaks of the Corno Grande climb. When i look at the photo, the deer literally look minuscule when taking in the entire frame.
These last two shots are a bit older and you may have seen them before. I took the shot below while skiing in the Dolomites at Cortina d’Impezzo last year. I tried to give the viewer an idea of how immense the mountains really were, as well as present a little danger and intrigue with the skier. And no, Melisa did not ski off the cliff after I took this photo – the angle I was shooting from plays with the lines, makeing the mountain she is skiing on look frightful and dangerous when it was really just another run.
Finally, this last photo I took on the island of Ischia, in the Arogonese Castle. Exiting the castle, you must walk through a series of tunnels, each larger than the last one, all of them making you feel small and insignificant. A tourist quickly walked in front of us while I was setting up the shot, providing a perfect opportunity to put the tunnel in to perspective.
I think all of these examples can help to express how important it can be to add a sense of scale to your photos (when you are able to). Once again, it is just another tool to keep your viewer’s attention, helping to tell your compelling story the way you experienced it when you were there!
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