Do you ever crouch down low and set up your tripod close to the ground? I do it all the time. Here’s an example of why I do it.”
This lovely autumn scene drew my attention because of the brilliant gold color scheme – and the single, red leaf on the rock. Actually, there was a pretty maple tree just behind me, and its red leaves were scattered all over the ground at the edge of the river… but when I stood in the water with my back to the maple, this leaf seemed to stand alone against all that gold.
It’s a subtle composition – I didn’t want the leaf to be glaringly obvious within the frame. Just a bit of simple beauty in an Autumn scene. New Hampshire is beautiful in Autumn… as you can see. :)
For this shot, I got down very low with my tripod to bring the rock in the foreground as close to my wide-angle lens as possible – which increases it’s relative size within the frame. Getting low also served to “foreshorten” the midground, so that I could include more trees in the upper part of the frame. Standing up with my tripod would have made the river seem to be wider… and would have forced me to chose between all that lovely gold in the background and the large rock in the foreground.
I made sure the entire rock was included in the foreground, so that it wouldn’t feel cropped, and so that the stream could flow around it. I chose a shutter speed that would allow the water to blur a bit in the foreground – I wanted to remove details and create a slightly surreal effect in the water.
As for the rules of thirds – well… the edge of the river is at the top third, but the leaf and the rock are centered in the bottom third. I felt that using the rule of thirds in this case would leave the image feeling heavy on one side. I only use the rule of thirds when it feels right. ;) I’m a firm believer in breaking all the rules whenever it feels right to do so.