my flickr photostream

Monday, July 26, 2010

Shoot what you know

© 2009 Simon Hucko

This week's post goes a bit deeper into something I touched on in the 52 weeks wrapup last week.

A lot of times people equate great photographs with exotic and exciting locations, and feel trapped and limited by where they are geographically. I'll admit I fall into this trap from time to time ("oh man, if I could only go to ______, my photos would be awesome!"). Sure, it's easier to get that "wow" factor when shooting somewhere foreign, but some of the best photographers in history have made their mark capturing what was in their own backyard.

A good example of this is Ansel Adams. Ansel is probably most famous for his photographs of Yosemite National Park. Along with his mastery of black and white photography (the man was a true genius with his craft, I suggest reading some of his books if you haven't yet), he knew that park like his backyard. In fact, he lived in the park for a few years while working at the visitor's center. This intimate knowledge of the area and his long-term access let him pick and choose his vantage points, time of year, time of day, and even weather to get the image that he wanted.

Granted, we don't all live in Yosemite, but there are plenty of interesting things in your area to take photos of. I don't just mean beautiful landscapes, either. You are in a unique position to get to know your locale and the people in it better than any other photographer out there. Get outside your normal routine a little and explore what's around you. A 5 minute walk or drive can reveal a completely different world and help you get out of the hometown creative rut. If you want to photograph people, find a local event or group and see if you can document it in some way for them. A lot of organizations can benefit from photography, and if you approach them you can probably gain access or even make a sale if that's your thing.

My point is, don't feel limited by your lack of a travel budget. There are plenty of great images waiting for you out there if you look for them.


[title of blog] on flickr

1 comment:

  1. Well put, Simon. A few years ago, I went into a bit of a rut where I looked back at my older photographs and felt that I didn't shoot as well as I had. Well...I admit, I had to take a break for college to some degree (camera broken, no money, the like). So I chalked it up as being out of practice. Later, I realized that the real reason is that I had moved. I used to live on the other side of the city, an entirely different county. I grew up there, so I knew that place like the back of my hand. Now living in new territory, I didn't know it so well. So the real reason my photography suffered is that I felt like a stranger in my own town. The solution? Wandering. I now know the town better...not as well as I had known my old town...but well enough to shoot as good - if not better - than I used to.