Stomping Grounds Photography

4th Street pier at dawn. Canon 16-35mm zoom @31mm, 30 sec @f18, ISO 50. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

4th Street pier at dawn. Canon 16-35mm zoom @31mm, 30 sec @f18, ISO 50. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

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!

A Louisiana Brown Pelican dives for its breakfast, Lake Pontchartrain. 1/1250th sec @f9, ISO 400, 70-200mm zoom with 1.4x converter attached for an effective focal length of 280mm. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

A Louisiana Brown Pelican dives for its breakfast, Lake Pontchartrain. 1/1250th sec @f9, ISO 400, 70-200mm zoom with 1.4x converter attached for an effective focal length of 280mm. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

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

Posted in: Inspire

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

10 Comments on "Stomping Grounds Photography"

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  1. Hmmm, not really, but I absolutely enjoy alpine environments. Unfortunately too far away to be there every weekend… There’s no special place I would consider as stomping grounds…

  2. Marco Fiori says:

    The loop round near where I work, Aldgate – Bank – St Pauls – down to the River Thames and back again. That’s mine and it’s consistently where I take my best work.

  3. That’s a shame, Bernd. No local spot you hit a lot?

  4. Well, I am traveling a lot and I am not that much home, especially at the moment.
    At my parents place I like to walk in the near woods, an area called Siebengebirge (Seven mountains) and especially one of its peaks Löwenburg (Lion’s castle), an old ruin.
    But the Siebengebirge is not connected that much with photography, except of these two images:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/belimbach/4673831419/in/set-72157625761068464/
    and
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/belimbach/4536129856/in/set-72157625761068464/

  5. Well, at the moment I am not home for most of the time. But at my parents place is the Siebengebirge (Seven mountains) located, where I used to wander on preferred paths. It’s not related to photography too strongly. But a couple of images had been shot there, especially two, which I really like. It’s a pretty huge area, though. Due to the distance from my home now I do not just jump into the car and visit it. It’s a two hours drive, if traffic is gentle, otherwise it can also take up to about four hours… For German conditions not acceptable within one day. May figure out something at some point in time in the future…

  6. vannie says:

    The first image above looks perfect to me. I’m not a professional photographer but I love to take pictures of the things and places that I think is beautiful. We don’t have lakes here in my place. Maybe that’s the reason why I’m very much amazed of the photo in Lake Pontchartrain. Great job Mr. Andrew!

  7. Evans says:

    “No limits to our potential as photographers, no limits to the number of great images out there, waiting to be made.” Cheers to that! Photography has a way of bringing me close to nature and people as well. Even a single scene we can all have so many ways of capturing it! Photography is God’s gift to us. Great blog and may the focus be with you too:)

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