What’s one of the differences between a snapshot and a great photograph? Composition.
If you’re just starting out in Landscape Photography and you have purchased a tripod, don’t forget you can move it once the camera is attached to find that perfect storytelling composition.
Take One: 5:36 AM
I will rarely be satisfied with the first location I plant my tripod even though I have walked around the scene looking at different compositions before the camera is fastened to the ball head, especially at sunrise while the mind is still half asleep. Here at 5.36am I carefully placed the tripod for this composition so that the edge of the North Narrabean Ocean Pool touches the bottom left hand corner of the frame. I also wanted the chain fence below the horizon line as I was using neutral density graduated filters to darken the sky to keep the scene within the dynamic range of my camera. My goal was to have the rising sun pop up at the point where the chain fence disappeared at the horizon.
Take Two: 5:43 AM
Within minutes I could see that the sun wasn’t going to be at that point and to add to the scene, an early morning swimmer ventured into lane 8. So I decided to move the tripod closer to the action. At 5.43am I took this shot. Once again lining up the edge of the pool with the corner, the crack of the pavement in the other bottom corner and slightly tilting the camera up to include more sky as it was becoming more interesting. I didn’t mind that a few more people had appeared on the horizon but the chain extending to the right side of the frame seemed to be just levitating there with no anchor point. Time to move again and very quickly too as the sun was about to rise.
Take Three: 5:46 AM
At 5.46am I captured this. Moving the tripod so to be able to compose the pool edge once again leading to bottom left and now bottom right. The chain now has an anchor point and also stops the eye from leaving the image but still telling the story that the chain continues. The clouds have a nice leading line to the rising sun and the cream on the cake, I captured the swimmer mid turn blurring their body but with frozen fingers on the side of the pool. This is my shot for the day.
Take Four: 5:47AM
A minute later at 5.47am the swimmer was off into the distance, sun had now poked through the clouds with a nice orange glow on the pool wall. However I can now see my lens wasn’t clean and the sun glare made the water droplets on my lens more prominent.
Tripods are meant to slow us down to think about our composition and settings. They can even slow us down while traveling but don’t let them stop you from moving once your camera is setup. You need to know how to make leg adjustments and ballhead adjustments without too much thought and NEVER be afraid to move on a moments notice. As you can see here, I had to move 3 times in 10 minutes to capture the shot. If I hesitated even 1 minute I would have missed it as seen in the last image.