Seek the High Ground
By Bob Krist
By Andrew Hudson Published: August 18, 2011 Updated: May 3, 2013
It’s all too easy to fall into a shoulder-high eye-level perspective when shooting on the road. This is fine for a majority of your pictures, but just as you want to vary your lens choice to keep your pictures interesting, you should also vary your point of view.
High angle views are perfect for travel photography. Nothing gives a better sense of place than a sweeping panorama shot from a highway viewpoint, hotel window, or an observation platform in a tower or skyscraper. High viewpoints abound in most travel situations, and they’re easy to find once you’ve trained yourself to seek them out.
I start on arrival, always asking for a room with a view when I check into a hotel. Afterward, I am constantly on the lookout for rooftop terrace restaurants, scenic overlooks, observation decks, sky rides, elevated walkways, boardwalks, and overpasses, and if all else fails, an open window in an upper level store or restaurant.
Scenes that often look chaotic at ground level, like an outdoor market or a stand of forest, take on pattern and order when seen from above. So once you’ve found your perch, be sure to explore it with different focal lengths, looking for patterns and tighter shots with a telephoto as well as those sweeping vistas shot with normal and wideangle lenses.
You don’t necessarily need to be outdoors to look for an elevated viewpoint. Museums, cathedrals, malls, and historic buildings often have balconies and galleries which can produce some interesting perspectives.
Copyright 2006–2011 Bob Krist. Reproduced with permission. No Internet reproduction or other usage permitted. For more information send an email. Bob’s next book will be PhotoSecrets Travel Photography.