Here is an awesome, quick read from Thom Hogan (Thanks to my buddy Jeff Swanson for pointing this out to me) :
I don’t want to infinge on Thom’s copyrighted work, so please Check out Thom’s Blog HERE
This made me think of my photography and how I have approached my favorite locations over the years.
I personally remember several years ago, someone on an online photography forum said to me “I am getting tired of seeing photos from you of the same locations over and over again.”
At the time I think I responded with something along the lines of “If you see a new post from me on this forum, save your eyes the trauma and don’t click on it.”
I paid that person no mind and kept plugging along, doing my thing.
I was still learning (I am still learning), trying new techniques (still trying new techniques), remembering where the sun rose over the lake in relation to the location I was at during that time of the year, etc… I knew one day I would see amazing light and capture the shots I was after, maybe even the photos I could see in my mind.
I was visiting the same locations over and over again to get to know them intimately. Now I can look out my window, see the weather conditions and have a pretty good idea of where I can go on the the shore of Lake Superior to shoot at any given time of year. I might not get the shot that I am after, The light might not work out in my favor, I might not even take a single shot, but with each visit to a location I have new intel and often see things I didn’t see before, especially new compositions. That’s invaluable information to have. One composition might work great in June, but not so much in December simply because of where the sun rises and sets. How does one know that? You spend thousands of hours visiting and getting to know your favorite locations. I am super glad to have put the tens of thousands of hours in the field and I look forward to putting in hundreds of thousands more in the field throughout my life. Getting outside, just being on the shore of Lake Superior or in the woods is therapeutic for me.
I must have walked past this pile of rocks hundreds of times over the course of six years without ever taking an isolated photograph of them. Sure, they looked interesting, but the light and elements never lined up with them before like how I wanted until one evening when I lucked out and happened to be there as the light turned awesome and the clouds were moving overhead.
It was the perfect opportunity to shoot these rocks. If I had gone somewhere new or different, I would have never got this exact shot.
Keep plugging away, go to the same locations over and over again and keep gathering information about them. Store those views in your mind’s eye.
You’ll thank yourself years down the road when everything aligns perfectly and you get the shot you’ve been chasing in your head.