Many books and articles about landscape photography advocate using a wide-angle lens and a low camera position. Certainly wide-angle lenses have their place in landscape photography (though they are not, by any means, the only choice). And getting a wide-angle lens low to the ground and close to some foreground objects can create an exaggerated near-far perspective that gives the photograph a sense of depth.
But a low camera position can also foreshorten the foreground and middle-ground, scrunching them together and merging objects that could and should be separated visually. A higher camera position can often create better separation and spacing between foreground and middle-ground objects, and a better flow to the composition.
Two photographs from Mono Lake might help show what I’m talking about. I made these earlier this summer when some clouds appeared out of nowhere in the middle of a stretch of clear, dry, cloudless weather. In the first of these images (above) there was a spectacular sunset going on above the lake. I might have preferred to have just water and reflections in the foreground, with no rocks, but that wasn’t an option: there were too many rocks, and no way to keep all of them out of the frame if I wanted any water at all in the picture. So I had to work with the rocks, and find a way to incorporate them into the composition.