The image seen above is Kugler Falls which are small waterfalls in Central New Jersey. The stream empties into the Delaware River, however, the volume and beauty of the falls depend upon recent rainfall. In other words, there may be no more than a trickle if the weather has been dry. The flow was perhaps at a quarter or a third of its strength on the day I took this photograph. A few separate streams of water were enough to show the falls but not enough to project it in any dramatic way. In order to present a more interesting composition, I expanded the frame to place the stream in the lichen-covered boulder field through which it passed. My subject matter now was not the falls itself but this more dramatic spot along the stream.
Note the logs protruding from the upper left and the lower right of the image. The eye is drawn from one to the other in a diagonal, something that expresses dynamism and motion. Other diagonals are in the leaning tree on the right and the ridge of the boulder that moves from the lower left towards the middle right edge.
I wanted to emphasize the setting and decided to include the trees which occupy the top third of the image. A close-cropped image of the waterfall and the boulders might have been interesting for texture, but the image has more of a sense of place because of the inclusion of the trees. The green of the trees also picks up the green of the lichen and helps integrate the image.
You get a general idea of the rugged, isolated nature of this spot even though it is less than half mile from a road.
So think about composition when the original and desired subject matter of your image (in this case, the waterfall) is not enough to sustain the image. Look around. Think in terms of a broader context. Maybe instead of the waterfall the subject matter can be dramatic boulders, the mature forest, and the fallen logs.