As artists working with the camera, something that we need to remember is that the camera observes the world differently than we do. It has happened to me on more occasions than I would like to admit. Your eye embraces a great scene. We are sometimes overwhelmed with sights, smells and tactual sensations of the breeze on your skin or mist from a waterfall. You think that you have thought of everything and then your emotions override the process of taking the photo. When you get the finished image from the printer or you see it on the computer screen. You scream, What happened to my masterpiece?
It may not be your fault, but it could a disconnect between how you as a human perceives the outer world as opposed to how, the tool, the camera, records the world.
Let’s look at how the camera sees its surroundings. The camera, regardless of how sophisticated, has certain limitations. Most importantly, it has only one eye. Why should that matter to the photographer? Because the camera cannot distinguish between objects in the distance and far away. It flattens the scene. With two eyes we perceive the depth of field. The mountain in the distance is farther away and the tree closer. It keeps us from walking into things .
But what be done, you ask? There are things that you as a photographer can do to overcome this obstacle.
First thing that you will want to do, now that you know that the camera has only one eye, is to mimic the camera. When you find the scene that you want to shoot, close one eye and look at the scene again. It looks different doesn’t it?
Second thing is, look around and see if there is anything that would add depth to the shot. By this I mean, find something in the area that will frame the main subject. Something like a tree branch, arches through a wall or an outcropping of rocks. Something in the foreground or in edges of the viewfinder frame that is closer than the main subject. The human eye will add depth to the photo when there is an object in foreground.
Another weather related trick to adding depth is mist or fog. Objects further away seems to fade and the further objects almost disappear. This creates a sense of depth for the viewer.
Look for lines that extend into the scene. A road will become narrower as it stretches into the distance. This adds depth as well.
Experiment with these photography tips and just get out there and shot. And by all means, have fun.