From time to time, while staring into the viewfinder, I notice distinctive layers in the landscape and try to accentuate them. Sometimes the layers are truly there, other times they are merely an aspect of perspective. Perspective is a creativity tool; I think of it as if it were another dial on the camera, for instance, turn it to make something appear higher or lower. An obvious example is my photograph Storm Tide.
In the above photograph, I am standing on the shore; the sea is not actually higher than the pilings or the beach, however, it appears almost as if the waves are a looming tidal wave. Another example is Calm Dusk, which I made while standing on a cliff.
Below is a snapshot of my camera set up on the cliff for Calm Dusk. It is obvious the horizon appears higher than the cliff with my tripod. However, sea level is always lower than a cliff (can a cliff’s edge ever be lower than sea level? Probably, but that's not the point.).
One more example, Dusk Rivulet below, the outbound tide stream flowing to the sea is beneath sea level in my photograph, however, it is really on the same level.
Where I decide to place layers effects the aspect for the viewer. Layer placement can make a photograph more or less dramatic. By placing the horizon at the top or bottom of a photograph, as opposed to the middle, tells the viewer, this is how I want you to see the landscape. Accentuating sky or land via placement emphasizes its importance. Likewise, placing the horizon in the center of an image lets the viewer decide which half is more important to them.
As the artist, everything it is up to me; if the viewer is captivated by my photograph then I have succeeded.