Nick Rains shoots from the ground, through a piece of pipe, to capture an unusual perspective. (Photo: John Pickrell)

Behind the image: an unusual perspective

  • BY Nick Rains |
  • December 30, 2010

AG photographer Nick Rains goes to some unusual lengths to shoot from a different perspective.

NO, THAT'S NOT SOME new Canon super-lens I'm using in this shot of me at work in the Simpson Desert; it's actually a short-length of drainpipe that I had been lugging around all morning. 

This sort of pipe material is used for the pit traps that natural history researchers use to sample the creatures which live in the area. Most are nocturnal, so arrays of these traps are set, left overnight, and then checked first thing in the morning.

I wanted to make an image from the point of view of an animal sitting at the bottom of the pit trap, looking up at the sky and the huge hand coming in. So I lugged around this bit of 6" pipe, the exact same stuff used for the traps. By lying down and using a 17 mm lens with the pipe just sitting over it, I was able to look out from the pipe as Max Tischler reached in, as though collecting our captive.

Here's the resulting image:

I like to try and work out interesting viewpoints for my images, and this one turned out to be surprisingly simple and effective. From a photographic point of view, the inside of the white pipe acted as a reflector too, so I didn't have to worry about the lighting being too harsh.

No animals were harmed during the making of this shot ... although I did get a lot of sand down my neck.

Behind the image series
Photographing wildlife with Nick Rains 
What do you think about the kangaroo? 
Photography tips: capturing action 
Photography tips: panoramas 
Travel photography tips: colour or B+W?
A five-day drive through the Kimberley 
5 eco-adventures in the Top End 
Photography tips: cloud control

Nick Rains has been an Australian Geographic photographer for 10 years and was 'Australian Geographic Photographer of the Year' in 2002. He is also the editor of Better Digital Camera magazine. You can see more of Nick's photography and read his blog here: