Get on the ground for heaven’s sake

How low are you prepared to go?

Shooting with your camera positioned as close to the ground as possible will often inject the interest you need into your images. Yes, this does have its challenges especially for those of us who find it difficult to get up again, or for those who don’t want to get down on the ground for aesthetic reasons (not wanting to look stupid in a crowd).

Having said that, it is worthwhile doing.

I was on Fish Hoek Beach (South Africa) a few months ago and saw men hauling in the shark-nets for the evening. I knew there was a photo opportunity and at first, couldn’t quite work it out.  This was the first photo I took (below) and I knew I could do much better. I was being lazy, standing there on the beach, pointing and shooting carelessly.

ISO 125 40mm f / 6,3 1/60 sec

Not surprisingly, there were several things wrong with the photo above, in my opinion. I was merely recording an event – I couldn’t expect much from that lack of energy and vision. There was no connection with the men.  As photographers, we have many options and I knew I had to be more daring. More than often, the simplest view does not work and will produce work that has no real edge to it.

I had to become an extension of the men who were pulling in the nets. To do that I would have to risk more. I would have to get into the water with the men. I took off my shoes and rolled up my jean leggings and got up “close and personal”.

The thoughts that ran through my mind were,

“Will people watching from the beach think I am showing off? Will I drop my camera into the water? Will the shark-net men mind me doing this?”

I overcame my self-limiting thoughts and got in. I became part of the action.


IS0 500   58mm  f / 6,3  1/80 sec

To photograph this scene so close to the water, I switched to Live View. If you have a reticulating screen, all the better as you can tilt it up to face you. 

After several minutes, I was able to capture the image I had been visualising. The man in the foreground formed a strong anchor point because I was so close to him. The way the net was draped over his shoulder reminded me of royalty – a king perhaps draped in finery. This “feel” was enhanced by the way he towered into the sky, adding to his status. His partner, whose head was breaking the horizon and connecting sea to sky, gave perspective and scale to the image. The sea took on hues that it sometimes does when the sun has gone down.

I came away from that experience wet and bedraggled yet happy. I was happy because I had broken through the mental barriers and got in there, become a part of the action.

If you want to load an image for a FREE critique without strings attached, please do so here.

Loads of blessings this week as you seek a better solution,


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