Time on Tuesday: Perspective

Have you ever noticed how much things can change depending on your perspective. The lens we use to view an object or event can offer vastly DSC02680different image depending on the time, location and a host of other factors.

The same is true of stories. Events and situations affect each individual in a unique way – what one person finds funny may strike another as tragic. When a writer is selecting a point of view character, they become the reader’s avenue for experiencing the story. With skill and practice, a writer can convey the events of the story so perfectly that the reader feels they are experiencing the event right along with the character. Through the power of words, a reader can be transported to another time and place – the magic of story.

DSC02683This is the Ferry Building in San Francisco, first built in 1898. The clock tower is its most distinguishable feature, making it a prime candidate for Time on Tuesday. The steel-framed structure is 660 feet long and has withstood two major earthquakes (1906 and 1989.) That last earthquake defeated the Embarcadero freeway which had plagued the stately building since 1957. In 2003, a major renovation of the building was completed. The site now boasts a farmers’ market, several restaurants and even a bookstore (as well as offering ferry service across the Bay.) You can read more about this charming spot and its history here.

Notice how the important details shift in each of these photos. In the first shot, there’s just a hint of a sunset as the street lamps are coming on. The sky is a wide open expanse, full of possibilities.

The photo at the left is all about the clock, and even lets the viewer know that it’s 9:23 (a.m., of course, given the bright blue sky)

The last shot shows the nightlife of the area and the glow of the streetlamps outshines the clock.

Three photos of exactly the same subject, but perspective changes the way the viewer expereicnes the clock tower. Writers have the ability to shift the reader’s focus in the same way through the level of detail they reveal. Detailed description of intricate details pulls the reader in close to focus on a particular object, while an overview that includes clouds, the Bay and the clock tower conjures an image of the entire block.


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