Image Depth

An important element for creating a 3D impression in an image is depth of field—focusing sharply only on portions of a scene, while the foreground or background remains

FIGURE 5-3 Vertical view of deeply eroded badlands in a sedimentary river terrace near Foum el Hassane, South Morocco. (A) Shadows cast from upper left to lower right emphasize the mesa-like structures remaining of the original surface and the V-shaped erosion channels between; note shadow of kite flyer standing on badland surface, upper left. (B) Same image rotated so that shadows fall in opposite direction. Many viewers may see inverted relief in this version, with sharp ridges and flat, sunken depressions. Kite aerial photograph by IM and JBR, March 2006.

FIGURE 5-3 Vertical view of deeply eroded badlands in a sedimentary river terrace near Foum el Hassane, South Morocco. (A) Shadows cast from upper left to lower right emphasize the mesa-like structures remaining of the original surface and the V-shaped erosion channels between; note shadow of kite flyer standing on badland surface, upper left. (B) Same image rotated so that shadows fall in opposite direction. Many viewers may see inverted relief in this version, with sharp ridges and flat, sunken depressions. Kite aerial photograph by IM and JBR, March 2006.

softly blurred. However, this is not applicable for SFAP, where the subject distance is always large and the lens focus set to infinity. Thus, image depth has to be created by the composition itself. Linear features are an excellent element for adding dimensions to an oblique aerial photograph, as the figures in the preceding section have shown.

FIGURE 5-4 Two high-oblique views over the small town of Liebenthal in western Kansas, United States. (A) Road running vertically across the image is visually dominant and detracts from the rest of the picture. (B) Slight shift in camera vantage and viewing direction with diagonal roads. The latter draw the eye across the scene, so the viewer looks at all parts of the picture. Kite aerial photos by SWA and JSA, May 2006.

FIGURE 5-4 Two high-oblique views over the small town of Liebenthal in western Kansas, United States. (A) Road running vertically across the image is visually dominant and detracts from the rest of the picture. (B) Slight shift in camera vantage and viewing direction with diagonal roads. The latter draw the eye across the scene, so the viewer looks at all parts of the picture. Kite aerial photos by SWA and JSA, May 2006.

Another possibility is to structure the image into foreground, middleground, and background. This, too, is not easy to achieve in SFAP. The opportunities for using distinct objects as foreground elements are rare owing to the high vantage point (Fig. 5-9). Instead, the three depth zones can be composed from horizontally aligned changes in landscape color or patterns and the horizon as background element (Fig. 5-10). In vertical aerial photography, depth is not an essential compositional issue, although interesting effects can be achieved with shadows (see Chapter 4).

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