It's a Matter of Perspective (Composition)

Today I'm going to dish out some photography advice.  I haven't really done this before because I'm still not comfortable as a photographer.  I don't consider myself an expert and feel inadequate to give advice, but as I was reviewing this set of photos I saw this would be a good example of not settling for the simple "snapshot".  

A good photograph is made up of many elements, exposure, light, subject and what we'll talk about now, composition.  I may be getting into symantics, but what is the difference between a snapshot and a photograph?  I would summize it is TIME.  By looking at this photo, you can't really tell where this is.  Is it in the forest, jungle? It has a nice, out of focus waterfall in the background.

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Let me give some background on how I got this image, then I'll show you the difference between snapshot and photograph.  This was Sunday afternoon and I was driving home from church, when I saw this staircase with water running down.  I initially passed it, but I was thinking this would be an interesting photograph.  I then turned around and went back to capture this moment (a good reason to have your camera with you at all times).  As I lined up and tried to find a good composition of what I initially saw in my head; I started to get disappointed.  This really wasn't that interesting afterall, but I kept trying spending about 15 minutes just in this one small area.  Now look at the photograph below.  This is one of the many photographs I was trying to capture with the water flowing down these steps.

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I kept at it and decided to try some completely different angles.  If you look on the right side of the photograph, you'll see this one plant growing out of the step (circled in red).  I then moved over to this area and tried some closeups of this area and found it to be much more interesting.  While I abandoned my original vision, by exploring different angles and techniques and investing the time in the area, you can come away with much better photographs.