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“The best way out is always through.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Take a Bird's Eye View of Landscapes

Sometimes the best landscape tips are the simplest ones--like looking for a high vantage point. It's amazing how different a scene can look if you can just get above it a bit. I was pretty lucky with this shot of the Camden, Maine harbor because there is a hill next to the harbor--you can pretty much sit on a park bench and get this shot. But I've also shot the same harbor from the back deck of a nearby gift shop (The Smiling Cow, if you happen to be headed up that way) and from the balcony of a hotel. There are also some elevated views of the harbor from a nearby public parking lot. While it's not always possible to find a higher viewpoint, it's worth scouting around a bit. I remember spending a frustrating day trying to get a good shot of the Breakers mansion and its grounds in Newport one summer day and finally decided to go inside and take the tour and wait for an idea to come to me--and it did. During the tour they took us out to a second story portico and from there the entire grounds of the estate and the ocean behind it came into clear view. Duh! It hadn't occurred to me that the best shot of the setting was from the building rather than looking at it. When you're shooting a landscape, look up, and then ask yourself how you can get to a higher perch.

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