Photos: Christine Heidel
Warning: Satire Alert
Ever been lugging around your heavy view camera far out in the wilderness and felt a tinge of frustration at not being sure of where exactly “the right” spot to set up for the perfect composition is? Well fear no more, with this revolutionary technique you can now stride off in into the field cool, confident, and certain that you will quickly and easily find the ideal vantage point(s) for your cherished photographs.
What you need:
- A general location
- Your camera (though most highly recommended for view camera enthusiasts, this can work for any camera) and photography kit
- One full-sized trampoline
Though revolutionary, the idea is simple. Upon arrival at your general location (the more remote the better, given your newfound ability to scout both efficiently and easily) – and before setting up your camera anywhere – quickly erect the trampoline. Being careful to remove your shoes first (imagine tearing it, the horror, the horror) commence bouncing up and down on the trampoline’s bed of taut and strong fabric, using the rebound provided by its many coiled springs to achieve a high point of view over your environment.
While suspended midair, ascertain your surroundings. Thoroughly identify and note the best locations for a photograph. If necessary due to harsh light or driving rain, shield your eyes using one (or in truly extreme conditions, both) of your hands. A minimum of 40 bounces per 45 degrees of field of view is recommended in favorable conditions.
Photo: Jesse Stephen
That’s it! You can now quickly, easily, and comprehensively identify all ideal photography vantage points within a one kilometer radius of any chosen point on the earth’s surface (topography, vegetation, fluidity, and motion sickness could aid or inhibit your efforts).
Now, to ease the learning curve we are pleased to be able to provide a video tutorial. Christine handily obtained this footage of me using the HOPS technique somewhat spontaneously during our recent Exposure: England, The Yorkshire Dales project. Christine was in the middle of a day-long hike documenting the many stone barns particular to Swaledale and Arkengarthdale with her 4 x 5” Linhof Technikardan view camera, and it was critical that she know exactly where to be throughout the remainder of the day. Within just a few minutes of employing the HOPS technique, I had ascertained precisely that.
Needless to say, the shoot was a complete and total success (more to come from Christine’s efforts in images soon, watch this space). In the meantime, happy scouting out there!