Your next great photo is probably someplace you've already been

     "Wouldn't it be great to be a professional photographer, traveling all over seeing beautiful places?" It's an easy sentiment to have, the desire to go and see someplace new to stimulate your creativity. After all, you know your home area so well that you've probably covered all the good spots already, right? In this week's post, I'm encouraging you to not overlook those great opportunities that your knowledge of your home area can provide.

     I took the photo above as part of a long string of sunrise and sunset attempts in downtown Chattanooga, TN during the many years that I lived in the area. It became by far my most popular image locally, and really is a special image. I took this photo on New Year's Eve night many years ago, and the clearing clouds set up one of the nicest sunsets I've ever seen. Yet, I went out that night almost on a whim, just looking to give it yet another try from a different spot to get a special downtown Chattanooga photo. At the time I took this photo, Chattanooga's revitalization was focused on the waterfront area where the Tennessee River passes through downtown, and I had been trying to photograph all the new areas of the 21st Century Waterfront in unique ways. While I had been shooting digital for a few months by this point, I was still shooting film as well, and this was shot on a roll of complimentary Kodak E100VS I had been given and was holding on to for the right opportunity. The brilliant sunset is only half of what makes this a great photo however, my familiarity with the area meant I had a good composition ready for the moment as well. It can be easy to look past the beauty of places you see everyday, but being familiar with your home area gives you an advantage over someone who's visiting for the first time. A good exercise sometimes can be to think about the places you would recommend to a new visitor, or perhaps take them to yourself, and try and see these places in a new way. Your experience gives you the advantage of knowing how the light should play out and what angles should be the best to take advantage of it.

    If you still think you've got all the great areas already covered, start consulting with some of your fellow photographers in the area to find out what some of their favorite spots are. Some may be reticent to share, but others will enjoy the opportunity to collaborate. Joining a local photography group like the one I lead in Boulder, CO can also provide those opportunities. Often a group of photographers can go to the same place at the same time and come away with very different photos, this is a chance to spark your own creativity. If you're in the area, I hope you'll think about joining in with my local group.

     As my featured photo this week, I'm offering this image at 20% off, through next Sunday night (7/16). Take advantage of this special opportunity to make this photo a featured art piece in your home. Just click on the photo at the top and you'll be taken to my art store where you can complete your purchase. If you're enjoying following my posts here on my blog, don't forget to follow me on Facebook & Instagram as well. You'll often see my newest photos there first, and you may influence what photo I'll feature next or add to my website. Thanks for following along!