Down & Dirty Photography

Photography, creativity, and art are not always glitz and glam. At times we need to get down and dirty with our cameras to successfully capture our vision. Let’s get down and dirty…

At times we just can’t see it

Over the past late Summer and Autumn seasons I was getting frustrated as I wrestled with the changing landscape. I’d put the camera to my eye, try to find the right framing and composition and fail. In frustration I may take a photo anyways or very often I’d put the camera down.

Looking at the scene, camera around my neck, I’d move this way and that way. Searching for some way to figure out what about the scene I was missing as I put the camera to my eye. The more I worked the scene and couldn’t find it, the more frustrated I became.

No joke. This went on for days. Increasing as the colors started showing the faintest hint of changing. I REALLY had been putting a lot of pressure on myself to find a different way to capture my favorite time of year and this frustration made it feel like a futile attempt.

Then I dropped my lens cap and you won’t believe what happened next!

Ok sorry about that! I really did drop my lens cap and it really did lead to something. I just couldn’t help make a click bait style headline there! Back to the lens cap.

I was fiddling with the lens cap idly while I tried to figure out what I was just not seeing one day and I dropped the cap. As I bent down to snatch it up off the forest floor I had my “A HA” moment. Though in this case it was more of a “A HA, YOU DUMBASS” moment because I should have known better.

It’s not like I’m new to photography. I’ve even talked about it here on the site in the past. When a scene isn’t working, change that damn perspective. I had been trying to do that as I stood in one spot, then another, trying different angles from left to right. Yet I simply forgot the most obvious…

Get low. Get Down. Get Dirty.

I had not thought for a second to bend down. Never even crossed my mind to take an “ant’s eye view” of the world. A quick glance up as I grabbed the lens cap and suddenly the world opened back up for me.

Even better, it not only helped unlock the scene I had been struggling with but it sent me down a path of a whole bunch of new scenes throughout the Fall season. A world full of details and stories that we often miss from above.

But to stand witness to these stories we have to be willing to get dirty. Even with the tilty flippy screen on my camera (Yep that’s the official words I’m using because you know what the hell I’m talking about! Don’t pretend you don’t!) I’d still be down on hands and knees composing the frame. Once or twice up to my knees in water to get just the right framing.

Yes my pants got wet. Sure I got muddy and dirty at times.

It was worth every soaking wet, mud covered minute.

Here are some of my favorites.


Doesn’t matter what gear you’re using, getting low can help!



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