Earthbound Light - Nature Photography from the Pacific Northwest and beyond by Bob Johnson
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Photo Tip of the Week

Getting Down, But Not Dirty

Have you ever noticed how a lot of things in nature are at, well, ground level? Flowers, small animals, grasses, insects, even trees and mountains begin down there. Why is it then that most photos are taken while standing up? Well, basically because it's easier. Giving people a chance to see ordinary things in a new way, however, can be one of the most magical aspects of photography.

Tulips from laying on the groundOne of the things I carry with me when shooting is a standard 33-gallon "lawn and leaf" plastic trash bag. These things weigh virtually nothing, and folded up, they take up little space, yet they make a great ground cover when laid out flat. When the ground is muddy or wet with dew, one of these guys can be invaluable. And if it gets too messy, they're disposable — what could be better than that?

The photo here was taken in the Skagit Valley of Washington, home to the Skagit Tulip Festival each year. Getting down low and looking up into the tulips really made this shot. And the trash bag kept my pants from getting muddy.

Call it a "bug's eye view" perhaps, but getting down low gives you a whole new viewpoint on the world.

Date posted: November 4, 2001


Copyright © 2001 Bob Johnson, Earthbound Light - all rights reserved.
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