View­point as sub­ject

Use shadow (or re­flec­tion) to bring an in­ter­est­ing view­point into the im­age

NPhoto - - Niko Pedia -

Overviews ap­peal to our sense of want­ing to see things laid out be­fore us. The bird’s-eye view is a priv­i­leged one, some­how com­mand­ing and putting us in charge. An il­lu­sion, of course, but a pleas­ant one. Tall build­ings and cliff-tops are all co-opted these days for this ex­pe­ri­ence, and the scenic over­look is a sign­posted stop on a na­tional park route. Drones join in as de­sir­able cam­era plat­forms. One thing usu­ally miss­ing from these van­tage points is the ev­i­dence of the view­point it­self, and in most cases it’s ei­ther ir­rel­e­vant or you may not ac­tu­ally want it ap­pear­ing in and in­ter­fer­ing with the view – sim­i­lar to try­ing to hide your own shadow when shoot­ing with a low sun be­hind you. Oc­ca­sion­ally, though, re­veal­ing the view­point can be a cre­ative so­lu­tion.

An un­usual light­house

The prob­lem here, on a small and lit­tle­vis­ited is­land in In­done­sia, was how to make the most ef­fec­tive im­age of an iron 19th cen­tury light­house. Light­houses by them­selves aren’t par­tic­u­larly un­usual sub­jects, un­less they’re in a spe­cial lo­ca­tion or are un­usu­ally tall, and that was the case here. These tiny and re­mote is­lands were where the Dutch mined tin, and this

The light­house is the sub­ject without ac­tu­ally ap­pear­ing in the pic­ture

19th-cen­tury light­house, shipped in parts from Scot­land, is one of the world’s tallest cast-iron light­houses. I shot from ev­ery use­ful an­gle I could think of at ground- and wa­ter-level, but none of these re­ally got across the height and lo­ca­tion. I even­tu­ally climbed it out of cu­rios­ity and was sur­prised by the sheer read­abil­ity of the shadow from this ver­tigo-in­duc­ing view­point. I waited for the shadow to lengthen and I got the shot I was hop­ing for. So, the light­house is the sub­ject without ac­tu­ally ap­pear­ing in the pic­ture.

Tan­jung Binga light­house, Bil­li­ton, casts its long shadow over the is­land and sea

A typ­i­cal work­around from sea-level – fit­ting the light­house with a va­ri­ety of fore­grounds

The fi­nal view­point

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