I know I’ve briefly mentioned this is other blogs, but this week confirmed for me what I have often preached in my workshops. Try going back to the same location to shoot multiple times.
I have a colleague who is an excellent photographer, but he rarely visits the same place twice. His modus operandi is to visit and photograph as many places on this planet as possible in the limited time we all have. Fair enough. I, too, have this travel lust. There are so many spectacular photographic locations and many of them are fast disappearing.
While I can’t take issue with the above approach, my own experience over many decades tells me that by rushing from place to place, I am missing something, and that is what this little piece is about.
Shoot. Repeat. Repeat.
There are many advantages to visiting a place multiple times. By multiple visits, I don’t necessarily mean the same place at the same time each visit, although that can be beneficial, too.
Repeat visits can come at different seasons. They can come at different times of day… and night. They can come during different weather. And they can be recorded with people present or without.
What reminded me of this is the fact that whenever I am on Maui (Hawaii), I make frequent stops at a little rocky outcropping toward the north of the island. Its orientation puts the islands of Lanai and Molokai square in view. Mother humpback whales with their babies swim by, the babies desperately (and comically) trying to mimic their mother’s breaches. Sea turtles pop their heads out of the water periodically, making me wonder how they survive the brutal wave action against volcanic rock. With all that - and legendary Maui sunsets thrown in for good measure - this is an idyllic spot for photography.
So I come here often, at different times and weather. These images were taken during the past two weeks, but I have many more from visits in past years. And that is what prompted me to write this blog. Visit a favorite or challenging photogenic place has advantages. Here are some.
I’ve always hated the expression ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. It’s simply not true, or not necessarily true. Familiarity is a friend of photographers. Once you are comfortable in a place, you can lose the stress of having to make an image. You’ve already done the most difficult parts. You found it, you decided on initial vantage points, you recorded images.
Once you revisit a scenic spot, you know what to expect. You have already recorded the obvious. Now it’s time to delve deeper. Maybe try a wider lens with a prominent foreground object that you ignored previously. Or you note that the far mountain to the left of the image would look better in morning sun. Each visit is an opportunity to gain new perspectives.
Freedom to Experiment
In the instance of this spot on Maui, I have already shot it in so many ways. I’ve even landed a few winning images and by that I mean images I like and that have sold.
I now look to try new concepts and new techniques. I’m experimenting with very slow shutter speeds, mixes of graduated neutral density filters and plain ND filters, modest tele lenses to extract details from the scene, B&W to capture various moods.
This site is one of many that I revisit. How about you? If you have a favorite spot and would like to share a few images of its different faces with my readers, please contact me. I may just feature it in a future blog, with full credit to you. Plus, you’ll be doing a real service to our photo community. In the meantime, keep shooting!