Conflicting Angles

While at the Wednesday San Francisco Photography meetup, I came across an old fashion (albeit remodeled) fire alarm at the Marina across the street from the Palace of Fine Arts. I loved the way the paint on the fire alarm was weathered, the way the sunset was hitting it, and the way you could see the dome of the Palace in the background. There was only one problem…conflicting angles.


As you can see, when I framed the image with the fire alarm nicely lined up on the vertical, the horizon was, well, not horizontal. And obviously the inverse would also be true. The darn fire alarm was crooked! So what to do? Do you just walk away from the image? You could zoom in closer on the fire alarm and forget about the background. But what I really wanted was the background!

This is where taking more of a dynamic approach was called for. Who says that the horizon needs to be horizontal? It’s all about dynamic angles. They add more interest to the image and give it a fresher look. The image below breaks the normal rules, give more of a documentary, shooting from the hip look. I think it works much better than if the angles would have all matched up… There was also the added benefit of shooting the side of the alarm that was facing the setting sun, this helps to bring out the texture in the weathered paint of the alarm.


Remember, you don’t always have to follow the rule…there are times when they are meant to be broken.

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