“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” –Ansel Adams

Photo thought # 2

At a party recently, a friend and I were sharing about our enjoyment of scenic photography. I commented that it seemed a lot easier to shoot great photos at a special location such as the beach or the mountains or some other travel destination rather than photographing scenes at home. He responded that it is the “familiarity” factor. We become familiar with our surroundings and don’t “see” potential photos the way we do when we are traveling.

We have become desensitized to our surroundings.When we travel, we are looking to capture a photo that will span the ages as a reminder of our travel experience and the place we visited. When we are at home, we see the same location over and over and  many times are not aware of great photo opportunities around us.

If we had the same attitude as when we travel, we would find great photos are everywhere. We have to look at things as unfamiliar instead of our habit of viewing with familiarity.

The proof is in my backyard. It is a very familiar place. It’s so familiar, I often overlook debris that needs to be removed or other distractions in the yard. But when I venture into the yard to photograph two of my favorite things, birds and flowers, I always find new and interesting angles, backgrounds, and even subjects.

Wherever you go, whether to the mall, a park, a business meeting downtown, a local restaurant, or around the block, photo opportunities are behind every rock, so to speak. Take your camera (or iPhone, if you must) and begin to look deeper at your surroundings. Notice how the light falls on a certain building and make an effort to check out the lighting at another time during the day. Look for textures, interesting backgrounds,  people enjoying themselves in simple settings, contrasts of old and new, architectural details, nighttime scenes, and a host of other compositions as you exercise your mind to see “new” things.

Your photography will improve and by learning to see deeper into your environment, you may gain a deeper appreciation for nature, your city or even your own backyard.

All photos copyright Jim Lockman/Click! 2010
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One thought on “Become unfamiliar with your surroundings!

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