How much time do you spend on your knees?
For me the answer is none! I get sharp stabbing pains when I kneel and 20 years ago I swore I would never kneel again. (I think there was some other swearing at the time as well.) But that’s no excuse. As a photographer, we all need to find a way to get down low.
Whether that means sitting, lying on your stomach, or using a right angle view finder, you gotta find a way. There’s a whole world of unique perspectives to be found down there.
During my week “off the grid” I visited a few of the smaller islands off of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and made some images at the beach. The first image below was taken at my tripod’s tallest position, which is just lower than eye level. I pointed the camera upwards a bit to place the horizon in the lower third of the frame. I really like how the sky turned out in this image, but all in all I feel it lacks a clear subject and has little impact.
As nice as the sky was, I decided that the unique features in the scene were the rocks and the shape of the shoreline at low tide. I collapsed the legs of my tripod so it was as short as possible to get closer to the rocks and angled my camera down placing the horizon in the top third of the frame. Pointing the camera down when you use a wide angle lens has a dramatic effect and even distorts the edges of the images a bit, but I’m ok with that.
To my eye this composition is more dramatic than the first image.
Both images were made from the exact same spot on shore using the same lens, focal length and aperture (10mm, f/11). The only difference is the position and angle of the camera.