Photographic Yoga Positions
Getting good images in the great outdoors can require a degree of physical effort, sometimes involving contorting yourself into some quite awkward positions.
Since its origins back in ancient India, the practice of yoga has spread widely. Today, it is not uncommon to find yoga facilities in ordinary shopping centers across the country. But what I've noticed is that it's not just housewives and college students who voluntarily twist their bodies into various shapes. Many photographers also routinely put their flexibility and determination to the test in service of photographing the ultimate vantage point. As a photographer, here is a rundown of some of the common positions you may benefit from mastering.
The photographer attempts to stand next to his car at the scenic overlook pullout and take a photo from eye level. This pose is generally the first one mastered by the beginning photographer before they attempt more difficult positions.
Packing up a heavy load of camera gear, the photographer slings their camera bag over their shoulder and heads out on a long hike in search of sights worth shooting. As they walk, their shoulder begins to hurt from the weight. This pose is often practiced first on one shoulder, then the other, repeating as often as necessary for the duration of the outing.
Intense Side Stretch
The photographer attempts to reach just a little bit further than would ordinarily be comfortable. This pose tends to strengthen the muscles of the upper arms legs. Either that, or it will probably hurt.
The problem with tripods is that their legs stick out in three directions, sometimes making it difficult to position when there are obstacles in the way. In this position, the photographer attempts to work their tripod into place in cramped quarters. With one leg firmly on the ground, the others are lifted up high against a tree trunk, canyon wall or large rock to create a stable platform.
The photographer tries to maintain his composure while simultaneously lunging to catch an accidentally dropped polarizer before it hits the ground. This position is excellent for invigorating the photographer by sending fresh blood and oxygen to all parts of the body.
Backward Facing Smartphone
The photographer grabs a quick selfie while attempting not to look too much like a tourist. If you notice tension in your shoulders when performing this position, try to relax and laugh off what you must look like.
The photographer shivers in the dark, waiting for first light on the mountaintop. If you need too, jump up and down a bit to generate warmth. In so doing, feel the energy rise in you. Keep your weight balanced as you admire the unfolding beauty of nature.
Downward Facing Tripod
The camera is mounted on a tripod set at a comfortable height, and the lens pointed downward. This is a well-recognized photographic yoga position, common for shooting a variety of ground level subjects.
Seated Forward Bend
Seated on the ground, the photographer leans forward, deep in concentrated meditation as he works to capture the perfect macro image. Do not force the pose, but rather go where the subject leads you. Wear loose, comfortable clothing so as to not constrict your movements.
Balancing Stick Pose
The photographer attempts to shoot extremely low to the ground, seeking creative solutions for balancing their camera in place by means of sticks and other found objects.
Standing Deep Breathing
After a long and strenuous hike, the photographer attempts to catch his breath. Hold the pose for up to one full minute, or until your pulse rate returns to normal. Be sure to drink fluids to remain hydrated.
As your confidence improves, you will begin to feel like a warrior on the photographic battlefield. This pose can take on any number of variations where you think you can do more than your body and your photographic skills are actually capable of. When out with your camera, be sure not to overdo it. Keep your awareness on what you are doing. Be thankful for the fresh air and sunshine.
Rag Doll Pose
At the end of a hard day, the photographer feels entirely worn out, barely able to take care of getting dinner and figuring out where to sleep for the night.
Sleeping Hero Pose
The photographer attempts to catch some shuteye following too many late nights and early mornings out in the field shooting. To release the pose, gently roll out of bed and drink some coffee before heading out in search of more images.
Modern science has attempted to validate the effectiveness of yoga as its practice has increasingly gained acceptance in the West. Yet at the same time, it can still be seen as controversial in some contexts. It is without question though that good nature photography can entail a workout that involves various degrees of stretching and bodily dexterity. Not every awkward position will result in a winning image, but some just may, and we probably all could use the exercise. When crawling around with your camera outdoors, these sort of positions are unavoidable. We may as well make the most of it.