Tag Archives: Photography Composition

From the Ground Up – Composition

From the ground up.

Living where I do with all the sights to see and photograph, I see a lot of photographers around and I love watching them shoot. But nothing bugs me more than watching a photographer set up their tripod, eye level, and shoot and that’s it. They may  pick it up and move it down the beach. But they set it up again, eye level, click, done, go home.
Years ago when my photos first started getting noticed, I got noticed for my style, for the type of shots I took. My shoe shots. What? you shoot shoes? No, My shoe shots. I would set my camera to a tight aperture, focus at hyperfocal distance. Place the camera on top of my shoe (so it wouldn’t get dirty or wet) and take a shot, usually with a object in the foreground.
I never looked through the viewfinder,so I really didn’t know what I got till I got home. Sometimes I got nothing, sometimes I got pure magic and a lot of times I got some very crooked horizons. My most notable shot and probably still my best selling shot was this one of a Starfish I took on the beach in Oregon. It’s a view from the ground up and it became a part of my style. So much so my first blog was named groundUp photography.
Now not all the shots I do today are done that way but more likely than not you will find me laying down on the job, looking for a new perspective on the shot. You’d be surprised how the look of a photo can change just by getting down low and shooting up. This is really true when we have foreground objects in our scenes. Getting down on the same level as a field of poppies or  even  a stupid tennis ball on beach. If you are trying to find me in a field of photographers, just look for the one covered in dirt and stickers in his shirt.
I was reminded of it again as I shot on the beach in Oceanside California. As all the other photographers set up their tripods, 5 foot high. Mine was set-up legs splayed as low as they would go and my camera was a foot off the ground. I would have laid on the sand but it was cold and getting soaked would not have made for a good time so I settled for 1 foot high and just a wet knee.
(All three images, shot 3 exposures +-2EV, Tonemapped in Photomatix)
So next time you go out, don’t be afraid to get down (just don’t boogie) and find a new perspective for your shots. I think you may be pleasantly surprised
Hope that helps