The 25th Challenge in my 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge is to Get Low. The goal was to look at the world from a different angle and shoot a landscape from a low point of view.
This was a challenge that I knew I’d be able to easily meet. I take many of my landscape photos from a low angle. When I started with landscapes, I used to always take photos from one angle. I then started experimenting with different angles. I was amazed how much of a difference changing just the angle makes. Everything else remains the same including the frame but changing the angle completely changes the representation of the scene.
Every location I go to, I try different spots, different angles, different heights, and different frames. My goal is not to necessarily get something unique. I know that’s what a lot of Photographers are aiming for; to get something unique. I know many Photographers don’t like shooting together as they don’t want to end up with the same photo as the Photographer next to them.
To me, there’s only so much you can do to avoid getting similar or identical frames. Think about a scene like Tunnel View at Yosemite, which has been shot by thousands of Photographers. I am sure hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of photos have been taken from that location. How much different can your comp really be? I am not saying it’s impossible to get a unique comp but it is difficult. In my mind, where you can truly show your uniqueness is not just in the comp but in your post processing as well. What set apart Ansel Adams was not just what he captured but the hours and hours he spent dodging & burning his photos to get to a level that he was satisfied with. That’s what makes his work unique.
Here’s a photo that I took at Almaden Lake Park for this challenge. I went there knowing that there will be some cloud action and some color in the sky. I have shot Almaden Lake so many times; the challenge was to see if I can find a different comp. I was walking around and I saw a bunch of driftwood by the lake shore. I tried different comps with the various driftwoods that were there but nothing really worked. So, I decided to create my own comp.
I moved one of the drift woods into the position that I wanted and went really low to the ground. I tried crouching low to the ground to take the shot but that didn’t quite well. So, I sat on the muddy floor with all sorts of insects and bugs. The shots sitting down were closer to what I had in mind but still not quite what I wanted. So, I lied on the floor next to my tripod to take this shot. Was this the lowest I could’ve gone? No! I could’ve shortened my tripod even further and could’ve got a shot from a slightly lower angle. I didn’t think that was necessary for this shot.