Blue irises, Skagit Valley, Washington
Where is the best place to focus your travel photographic energies, exotic locals or near your home?
Carsten Krieger’s article Theme and Variations on Digital Photography Review got me thinking about that last week. Carsten argues that “many of the iconic landscape images we admire are often made in the photographer’s backyard – places that have become familiar to the photographer through months and years of conscious exploration.” He says:
“In contrast to a faraway locale where you may only spend a few days in one spot, shooting closer to home affords you the time to learn the landscape’s secrets like the best vantage point, season and time of day for shooting. Photography is first and foremost about seeing and interpretation. And with enough careful and consistent attention, you can discover amazing images to be made even in what (for you) may be the most ordinary of places.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I am lucky to travel quite a bit, sometimes even to “world class” landscape photography sites. But when traveling to such sites, I think of the huge advantage the local photographers have over me. They can keep coming back to these “hot spots” over and over, in whatever weather or season they like, and will almost always make better photos than I. While they have the freedom to pursue the ideal photographic conditions and to try different photographic techniques, I can only make a brief visit of a day or two. I often only have one chance, one sunrise, and have to make the best of it. And conditions will not be “ideal” the vast majority of the time.
Whenever I’m thinking this way, I also reminding myself to reverse that logic and to remember how important it is to be one of those lucky locals when I’m back home … with the opportunity to make repeated trips, to be at a place under a variety of conditions, to look for unique situations, to .