You’ll be forgiven for wondering why I’m writing about getting your knees dirty in a photography blog, you might wonder if I’ve taken leave of my senses and started to think about getting into the dry cleaning business. But this post IS related to photography and it is all to do with points of view, about getting the angle, about getting down and dirty.
The title was born out of the fact that I never, ever seem to have any clean jeans anymore. All of them have big dirty patches on the knees. Even when they have been through the laundry the grass stains and mud(and probably bird poo if I’ve really not been paying attention) are still there.
Another point of view
As photographers I think our job and our whole raison d’être is to record the things that go on around us, to preserve forever both the beautiful and the ugly. But sometimes we forget that in order to see those beautiful and ugly things we need to stop looking at them as the rest of the world looks at them. We need to look at things, from another point of view(someone should write a song…), and often that means getting your knees dirty.
The world is watching
When I first started taking pictures I was very aware of the eyes that seemed to be everywhere, of making myself look an idiot by contorting myself into odd positions. I should say at this point that I am not a small person, I’m probably more than a little bit overweight and I’ve always been on the large-ish size. I’m also fairly shy and self conscious, I don’t like public speaking and I would rather sit at that back and not draw attention to myself. One of THE most important lessons I have learned is that it does not matter what people think as long as you are not blocking people from getting where they need to go or making people step over you, then ignore them and they will ignore you. Even if they do glance your way as soon as they see a camera they will lose interest in you. In fact most members of the public will be more interested in getting out of your way.
Think on your feet, but don’t shoot from there
We spend our entire awake adult lives on our feet or sitting down, we normally observe the world from a height above about 3 feet, this means that pictures that are shot from low angles are often more appealing to the eye because they offer a view of the world far removed from the usual. When you are composing a shot, think about shooting it from a kneeling position or even from laying flat on your stomach.
Your three legged friend
A good, solid and stable tripod is essentially for many forms of photography and most will be able to get down low with you. If you need to shoot from a tripod on a regular basis, then one that will allow you to get the low PoV shots is pretty essential and is something that should be high on your list of requirements when purchasing. Some tripods offer reversible centre columns, this means you can shoot upside down, with the hotshoe touching the floor if you need to get really low these are ideal all you need to do is flip your image in post processing and you can get some interesting results.
Your washing machine may not thank you
But people who view your images certainly will. I think getting the shot is far more important that the odd dirty knee and increased laundry bills, hopefully when you’ve tried it, you’ll agree!