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A diamond in the rough describes this photo. It introduces a new compositional technique know as the "birds eye view". The camera was held up high and pointed down at Manley and Melanie. It served a useful purpose in this case: it eliminated a lot of distracting background. It might be pointed out to the viewer that this exposure was taken on slide (positive) film and if projected, provides matchless brightness range never seen on the printed image. Slide film, however, is more difficult to use than forgiving negative film, as the exposure must be very accurate. 


Now our picture is much improved, with the help of a photographic tool known as cropping. Notice that the small white area in the top of the picture and the metal-work to the left side are gone. By cropping away the extraneous portion of the frame, the eye homes in on the subjects with less effort. Alternatives to cropping are zooming in to crop in the camera or leave the frame the original size, but do extensive retouching to remove the distracting elements. Note that moving in with a fixed focal length lens would not produce the same results as cropping as the perspective would be changed. This picture was taken with a wide angle lens (28mm) and is about as close as one should get without causing excessive distortion; even so, Melanie's arm is somewhat enlarged by the camera's perspective. This effect would be exaggerated as the camera moves closer.  


The inverse of the birds eye view is the worm's eye view employed here. I literally laid down on my back at ground level and pointed the camera up at our basketball player, Ivan. I took this shot midday, so we moved to the shade to avoid harsh overhead sunlight. Open shade provides a very nice, even light that flatters most subjects. Be sure to use a skylight filter on the lens to filter out unwanted ultraviolet and blue light which might adversely affect skin tones. A surprising number of people avoid shade, thinking there is not enough light to photograph. Discard that thinking as this picture proves that shade is one of the very best sources of photographic light. A good meter, either built into the camera or a hand-held instrument is useful for determining accurate exposure. Shade varies quite a bit in intensity from place to place. If using an adjustable, unmetered camera, a rule of thumb for open shade is to open the lens 3 to 4 stops from the sunlight setting.