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Jason spent the 00s living abroad in Asia.  He returned to the Tampa Bay area in 2009 and began Jason Collin Photography.  When not behind his camera, Jason is an avid movie watcher and enjoys being outdoors with his adopted puppy, Kiki.  Jason is left-handed & a night owl. FULL BIO

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Photography Tip -- vanishing point

Vanishing Point example: f/11 ISO 200 1/640 -1 +/- handheld

This marks the first in what will be a continuing series of photography tips I will offer.  You can follow them if you find them useful by subscribing or checking back regularly.

The above photograph is an example of vanishing point composition.  The train tracks are of course parallel to each other, but they appear to converge at a distance.  Where they converge is the vanishing point.  This adds a sense of depth and dimension to a 2D photograph.  Besides train tracks, other subject matter that can be photographed using the vanishing point technique include:  tunnels, winding roads, guard rails, high walled paths.

These train tracks are across from the University of Tampa campus.  I know there are also train tracks in downtown Tampa and near the brewery at Busch Gardens.  If you live in an area that has a subway system, then you will have lots of vanishing point photography opportunities.

Vanishing point composition does not need to follow the rule of thirds for composition.  In fact, centering the vanishing point is often the most pleasing composition.  For train tracks, I like to put the camera as low to the ground as possible.  Using a tripod is a good idea too.  As always, set your focus about 1/3 of the way into the frame. 

Please post a link to your own vanishing point photograph in the comments below!

How I edited the photograph: 

  • RAW processed in Aperture (Nikon D300 default setting)
  • Exposure correction in Color Efex Pro 3
  • Tonal Contrast filter used in Color Efex Pro 3
  • Unsharp Mask in Photoshop CS4
  • Holga effect filter in Silver Efex Pro 3 

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Reader Comments (5)

Cool! I look forward to your next post. Here's one I took awhile ago.

Do you have any examples of 2-point (or more?) perspective in your collection?

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Thanks for sharing Anna. I will have to go through my archives to see if I have any greater than 2-point vanishing point shots. I did not look to make this kind of shot when I was still in Japan, which was foolish, as ample opportunity would be there in Tokyo for such shots.

April 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterJason Collin

Nice article, it's really made me want to experiment further with vanishing points.

Here's one i took a couple of months ago -

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Oops... forgot the html.

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam

@Sam .... thanks Sam and thanks for sharing your shot, I like the curved use of the vanishing point.

May 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterJason Collin

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