I had a chance to return to a familiar place over the weekend to clear my head, which happily led to me thinking about this photo tip. Normally, you can find me moseying up and down the winding path of Gorton Creek, looking for some new way to capture the rushing water and rocks that it flows around. However, on this occasion, I decided to climb up the scramble that leads to Upper Emerald Falls, which coincidentally is where I took the cover photo of my book, The Visual Palette. On that trip, I took a path up the scramble that kept me mostly away from the adjacent smaller waterfalls because I wanted to get there before we lost our light. This time, though, I decided to spend my time exploring the area better and I’m really thankful for that decision. I’m also thankful for all the time I’ve spent getting into better shape because I distinctly remember having a much harder time climbing this area before.
Now, this photo tip has to do mostly with composition. Often times, you’ll hear me preach about the importance of establishing clear lines to lead your viewer’s eyes through the frame. After all, that is your responsibility as the photographer, isn’t it? However, there will be times when it simply is impossible to create one nice line through the frame. That was the case with this photo. I simply couldn’t get to a vantage point that would allow me to showcase the water sourcing from the upper falls—visible at the very top of the frame—as it makes its way down to the falls in front of me. That’s where the placement of your camera is extra important. By adjusting my composition so that the upper falls were placed towards the right of the frame, I was able to place the lower falls more towards the left of the frame with an added bonus of a few areas of water flow peaking throughout. This particular way of placing my camera in relation to the water allows me to create a virtual series of lines, giving the viewer a path to follow the water all the way through the frame. So, as you can see, it is worthwhile to pay close attention to how you leverage your position relative to your intended point of focus in such a way that aids the viewer’s navigation of your frame.