October 4, 2012 | volume 116, issue 24

Changing perspective by changing a lens

This last weekend, I took advantage of one of the precious few free days for state parks in Washington, where it’s not required to own a Discover Pass to enjoy public lands.

It marked my first visit to the Bowl and Pitcher at Riverside State Park, and I have to say, I’ll be returning very soon. The beauty of the park easily impressed me, residing just outside the bustling city of Spokane. Having such a jewel nearby is one of the great pieces of the Inland Northwest, that, when combined, makes this a great place to live.

Out at the park, after a good deal of hiking around, I met Edward Mitchell. He’s a hobbyist photographer, specializing in 3-D photography and video. You can find some of his work at www.coldstreams.com/video, along with some great information about photo processing software.

I’ve been learning more about the photography trade over the past four years, making a point to visit different places each month. It helps grow your skillset and offers a chance to see new locations throughout the area.

Taking a 3-D photo obviously has a few more steps involved than a regular 2-D photo. With a traditional camera setup, one takes in the composition, framing and subject matter while making sure the camera settings are correct. In a 3-D photo, however, things change. An additional camera requires a stronger depth of field, or the ability to focus on subjects both near and far. It also means the photographer needs to keep settings and a photo’s look consistent between the cameras, all while taking into account the 2-D framing. There’s also the matter of some photos not being great in 3-D, not having the depth one needs to make a strong effect.

In short, there’s a lot more to it. Add the aforementioned to making a 3-D video, and the patience needed for a final product is astounding.

Meeting another photographer out on the journey was a highlight, but hearing Mitchell’s passion for his hobby was infectious. Now, while I’m not about to purchase another camera to try the 3-D conversion myself, there are things I can work on to shuffle up my traditional photo work. There are different lenses, filters and an infinite amount of different angles from which to take photos.

Often, we’re stuck in life’s routines. We get up, eat one of five regular breakfast items, go to work, do the same thing, come home and crash on the couch until that nagging item on the chore list comes to mind. And, after a while, routines become mundane and worn out.

People like Mitchell help to liven up the scenery a bit. Even a quick conversation about photography techniques and software can help change someone’s viewpoints or expand their horizons.

Although some routines and procedures work well, it’s good to shuffle things up a little. To put it in a photography sense, sometimes life is better by looking through a different lens.

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