The Lowdown on Getting Down and Low

Hostile Takeover

I felt really bad for not participating in Neil Creek’s last photography project, so I was determined to make it up to him and participate in his current project titled “The View From Below“. I would have liked to participated a lot sooner than right before the deadline, but something is better than nothing I suppose.

The goal for this project is to take a photo from a low perspective (with the camera under 12 inches from the ground). It’s a great exercise because we typically don’t lower our cameras that far. It’s unfortunate because there are a ton of missed opportunities from down there. I took many shots for this project while laying on the ground, but the mushroom shot above came out best.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have taken a photo of some common mushrooms in the grass — but getting down to their level changed the perspective so drastically. The ONLY reason I took this shot was because I was thinking of the project. I wish it didn’t take a project to remind me to get down on the ground every once in a while, but it was a great reminder and lesson in composition and perspective.

So whether you participate in Neil’s project or not, try to remind yourself that standing up or kneeling down aren’t the only ways to take a photo. Glance down at your feet every once in a while and see what’s down there. If you see an interesting scene in front of you, see what it looks like from ground level. And remember that the things you normally look down onto will appear completely different and new when you look up at them.

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10 thoughts on “The Lowdown on Getting Down and Low

  1. My Camera World

    Love your title Brian:

    Getting down low can be lots of fun and it does open a new world that we would not normally see. When the flowers are just starting to come out is one of my favourite times to be out and about with this technique.

    It can be a bit dirty at times and that is why I carry a large piece (5’x 8’) of thin plastic sheeting (used in housing constructions) as vapor barriers in may camera bag.
    This allows lay in the muddy soil and not getting dirty.

    A while back I tried attaching my camera by way of the ‘gorilla zoom’ to my monopod at about a foot off the ground. I used the wireless remote to trigger as I walked around the market.

    While it was a good experiment, only a few images I really enjoyed, maybe a wider angle would be better (was at 25mm effective). Also the best shots where those were there were a lot of people walking by (many legs). I am not sure I will try again as I did feel a bit uneasy as I was glad it wasn’t the summer time.

    Niels Henriksen

  2. Chica

    Very neat achievement with that photo Brian, I really like it, it’s a moody mushroom!

    I have the opposite problem, I usually down and low most of the time, and forget that I can look up or out or something. That could be due to my marble obsession, and having small children. 🙂

  3. his4ever

    I cant wait to get down and low again…it’s hard to do when your 9 months prego 😀 Thanks for inspiring me for when this little one is born!

  4. Gowri

    Hi Brian,

    Very nice post.Simply loved the mushroom image! You are quite right about the change in perspective the moment the angle changes. Nice to be reminded of that with a lovely image. 🙂



  5. Dennis

    Chica has the right idea. Think about playing marbles, get down low and see the beauty of the world. Just like the mushrooms. great shot.

  6. James Rekerki

    I just came from a trip to Japan and even though I use a low end point and shoot camera, I was all about getting down and low. My friend kinda got upset with me because she did not see the reason to be all on the ground up and hanging from trees. When she say the pictures, or what I was trying to do, she finally got it. Now she is a down and low kinda girl lol.

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