PHOTOGRAPHING IN THE ‘HOOD
Do you know what it means when someone talks about their ‘stomping grounds’? It’s a reference to an area with which they feel completely familiar and comfortable; a place that they know ‘like the back of their hand.’ Well, do you have any photographic stomping grounds? Places you like to shoot, over and over and over?
I know that I do. I was thinking about this the other morning while slowly driving out a heavily fogged-in road to a spot on Lake Pontchartrain that I like to shoot. The beauty of stomping grounds photography, to me, is what it teaches us about ourselves and what we know, and what we think we know. By that I mean the way regardless of how familiar you may be with a certain favorite spot, favorite meadow, favorite city block for photography, I know that my experience teaches me that every time I go, I come back with new, different photographs.
This is really, really interesting, don’t you think? Maybe we don’t really know a place at all, if it keeps coming back new in our images…
Today was a case in point. This is a road I’ve traveled many, many times to shoot, but with the fog enshrouding everything, everything looked new, different, mysterious. I had to slow way down, inching along, just to stay on the road (really mushy shoulders here). Once at the water’s edge, I could hear splashing—really BIG splashing—which took a moment to figure out. Pelicans were fishing, climbing and diving, climbing and diving. Most of it was out of sight, but occasionally one of these great prehistoric beasts would get close enough to see as it slammed down into the water after its breakfast. What a sight!
It made for some different and for me, unique images on this particular morning.
The other thing I think we learn from stomping grounds photography takes place between our ears: within our creative processing. I know I could pick a camera up right now, head out my door, and within 10 or 15 minutes, make an interesting photograph. Actually I think you could set the time limit at 5 minutes. So what does this mean for our shooting?
It means that there are no limits. No limits to our potential as photographers, no limits to the number of great images out there, waiting to be made.
It means that we are truly blessed as photographers, working and enjoying this activity here on Planet Earth! I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing than working towards another great image, today.
May the focus gods be with you!
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog