Open Up Compositional Opportunities by Being Awkward

The Pacific Northwest, USA is a grand place with astounding diversity of natural beauty within a day’s drive. In fact, one can shoot the desert, mountains, lush forests, and rugged coastline in a single day if they tried hard enough. It’s no surprise that this area of the country is a destination for landscape and nature photographers from all over the world.

The iconic locations are plentiful and photographs of these places even more-so. It’s easy to walk up to the scene and place your tripod in the optimal position, thus framing the scene perfectly in your viewfinder.  Unfortunately, there’s little doubt that your scene was captured by many before you. If you want to come away with something different, you have to think differently. And sometimes, things can get awkward.

Here’s a short video I made about getting yourself into awkward places in order to get a unique perspective on an often photographed scene:


I am often getting myself into awkward positions. Here’s proof:


Straddling a crevice with the back of my camera against the cliff. I needed multiple exposures for this shot (long shutter for water, short shutter for foliage, darker exposure for highlights) so I was in this position for a while.

Nothing like lying awkwardly on a rocky ledge while you dangle several thousand dollars worth of photography equipment over a rushing river.

I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone. Go farther, wade deeper, and duck into places that might not seem obvious. Sometimes getting a unique shot means thinking outside the box in terms of where you go and how you set up.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done to get a shot? Post it in the comments if you got a keeper!

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3 thoughts on “Open Up Compositional Opportunities by Being Awkward

  1. After looking through my photos, the most sketchy things I’ve done to get a photo were definitely all in Columbia River Gorge – scrambling up and down sketchy hills, sliding across slippery logs over giant waterfalls inch by inch, and rock climbing/wading in my skivvies in chest deep water in Oneonta.

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