Monday Musings – Master Your Location

Its that time of year again when I start thinking about where I would like to photograph next year. Having a location list is essential to making sure you don’t get stale. It also gives you something to look forward to and work toward. As I was kicking around some ideas with friends, one of them made a comment that I thought was worth writing about.

Great Black Backed Gull Wing Flap

The comment was along the lines of “I could never make images as good as you because I have nothing to photograph”. That comment made me wonder. How many others out there don’t get out and make images because they think they need to go to Yellowstone to find beauty?

Great Black Backed Gull Preening

I think one of the best parts of photography for me is mastering the landscape (buildings, wildlife, people, landscape, everything for that matter!) in and around where I live. Mastering your location is a tremendous learning experience. It helps hone your skills so that when you do spend the money to go some place you deem special as a photographic location, that you bring the skills necessary to capture more than just images that say “I was here”.

Herring Gull Yawn

These images were all taken this weekend at Greenwich Point Park. Most of you know that I am an emerging birder. One of the great things about photographing ones own community is that it improves skills other than my photography. How could that be you ask? Well, look at it this way. I spent a few hours at Greenwich Point searching for light and subjects. When I found subjects in good light, I started looking for gesture and biology to photograph in order to tell the story I was looking to communicate.

Herring Gull Preening

After making the images, I returned home and researched the birds I captured in order to learn more about their biology. If I hadn’t made the images, I wouldn’t have learned about the birds. There are hundreds of images in my files where the story is similar to this one. So the best advice I can give you is find things in your community to photograph that make you happy. Please don’t think you need to go to a special or exotic location in order to have a reason to make great images!

Images captured with Nikon D700, 600mm f/4 on Lexar Digital Film