Compressing perspective – that’s a bit of a mouthful. But we need to talk about it and learn how we can compress the perspective to change the way our camera sees things.
“Know that your camera sees things differently to the way your eyes sees things.”
When you zoom in, you can make the background appear closer. The more you zoom in, the closer the background appears.
That seems kinda obvious – right? However, zooming in also compresses perspective within the scene and appears to bring things closer. It squeezes your foreground and background together.
Putting it into practice
The following photos are a few years old. I took them when I first started really getting into my photography. Both were shot with a 6 megapixel Nikon D40 camera and a cheap as chips Sigma 70-300mm zoom lens.
The photo of the swan near the old diving board at Lough Lannagh was shot while I was zoomed in to 55mm. Therefore, my shutter speed must have been equal to, or faster than 1/55 in order to get a sharp shot. It was shot at 1/60 of a second.
See the size of the mountain, Croagh Patrick in the background. Notice that it’s quite small. As it should be, because it’s over 16 miles away.
This photo below, of people enjoying the sunset was shot from pretty close to where I was standing in the previous shot of the swan.
However, in this photo I was zoomed in to 300mm. So, I was shooting at a shutter speed of 1/300 of a second or faster. Notice the size of Croagh Patrick in this photo. See how much bigger it is.
Zooming in has compressed the scene and appears to have brought the foreground and the background closer together. Yet, they are over 16 miles apart. The mountain appears much bigger in this shot.
This is something that you should practice at and is a great technique that will really drive your photography forward.
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