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Breaking the Horizon

Regardless of where you place in the frame, the horizon line tends to act as a divider, separating the land from the sky. Or at least that's the way we often see it. Which makes it all the more fun to shoot from a vantage point that puts things on the wrong side of that line.

I love mountain wildflowers. At the right time of year, you can sometimes find whole fields of flowers when hiking through the mountains. But even when you find a huge field, each individual flower is relatively small. And invariably each of those flowers is down near ground level. There's no disputing that the typical vantage point for looking at flowers is from above. You're standing up, and they're down there. Mountain wildflowers stubbornly stay below the horizon. Even if you sit down on the ground next to them, you're still a lot taller than they are, and your relative position remains more or less the same. You have to put some serious work into getting close enough to the ground to look at most mountain wildflowers at their level.

Breaking the horizon with something that normally stays down near the ground can require some planning and effort. The legs of a typical tripod won't go completely flat. And even if you have one with legs that will, you're still limited by the height of the tripod head affixed atop those nimble legs. Flopping the head from the vertical over to the side shortens the setup some, and coupled with an L-bracket camera plate allows you to side-mount a camera in a stable position closer than normal and will work in some situations. The amazing Joby Gorillapod is a short tripod with legs made from segmented fall joints that can be bent into most any needed position. This has become one of my favorite setups for ultra low shooting. When even that won't get me low enough I've even set the camera directly on the ground propped up by twigs found on location. Whatever I can come up with. I continue to dream up new techniques to shoot low.

Again, this sort of thing takes planning and effort. But it can sure be a lot of fun and yield images that let you see things in a new way.

Date posted: July 1, 2012


Copyright © 2012 Bob Johnson, Earthbound Light - all rights reserved.
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