What are the advantages for achieving elevation in Landscape photography?

I will probably state some obvious truths here in my attempt to justify getting high in landscape photography. But as important as finding high ground is in wilderness survival, I would like to include the concept in my photography survival kit-bag.

For starters, I don’t necessarily mean shooting from a higher position, although the advantages will be discussed later. The initial intention when I am telling the photographer to get high, is to force them to be thinking like a scout or explorer. If you are in a new territory and you need to create a world-class image in the next few hours, then I would suggest that finding a high ground fairly early could give you the edge. Getting to that high ground should always be achieved with full safety considerations, know your physical limitations before attempting to climb any strange rock face.

What do you do when you’re up there?

What I do is survey the land. The background is often the easy part in landscape photography, it would normally be “Those mountains over there” or “That blazing sunset sky”. The trick to working the land is to have a fair idea how the land lies between “Here” and the Background. A bit like a golfer surveying the bumps in the green, the photographer should be looking for attractive paths through the landscape to the trophy background. From a high ground, the photographer can see where the rivers run, where they are straightest and where hills and cottages might make or break the shot.

I got really low for this shot, but I wouldn’t have known about the water without first getting high.
KFGrass

I got really high for this shot.
GlacialRivers

So here, we drove up on the mountain road for many kilometers to get to this height. The elevation has done amazing things for the middle ground. See how the mountains have a new perspecive and the river network become interesting because you can see how they merge and weave through the landscape.

Should a high waterfall be shot from upon high?

Why not! but I think I would rather get down there and explore… wouldn’t you? There is a lovely hike through the valley or a rough footpath from the top Parking area.
Háifoss Vertical pano

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