The Benefits Of Photographing The Same Location Over And Over
Revisit, Revisit, Revisit
When I first started out, sunrise for me was all about the sky - chasing those ‘epic’ clouds and ‘banger’ colours. Needless to say this led to a lot of disappointment.
It was always onto the next thing and location - seeing an amazing shot at a location and adding that to the list.
This has changed over the last couple of years for a lot of people and lots of different reasons. Many have come to appreciate the value and beauty of the area they live in, and when travelling are staying more local. Road trips have become a lot more common and travelling overseas is still something not everyone is rushing back into.
This has led to more local travel and often repeated visits to the same (and beautiful) areas. For me those areas have been more local on the Central Coast itself, the beautiful Blue Mountains a few times, both the north and south coast areas of NSW, more recently Tasmania - and upcoming I’m planning a 2 week road trip throughout Victoria. I’m thinking of maybe New Zealand next year, but for this year, Australia has more than enough on offer.
As I’ve said previously, I fully expected to experience an ‘amazing’ sunrise every time I went out - no one said I was smart! I did, however, learn that sometimes you need to go to the same location several times before you experience these epic conditions. Once I adjusted to this thinking, the options for shooting locations in less than ideal conditions opened up, and I feel it really improved my photography.
Some say to scout the location once you arrive, find your perfect composition and stay there. That can work really well for a local place you can visit frequently, if it’s a place you may never visit again I have to disagree. In that case, run around like mad and capture as many different compositions as you can!
Now, back to revisiting the same spot over and over. This will help you grow and learn in many different ways. All the photos in this post will all be from the one location, Avoca Beach on the Central Coast where I live.
While constantly trying to find new locations (especially local) is a good challenge, it can become tedious at times. Furthermore, you can get a lot more out of a location than you might think you can, and it can be well worth revisiting the same spot more than once.
You can get something different every single time, and to be honest it’s nice to be able to go somewhere familiar (especially in the dark before sunrise). You know where to park, roughly how long it takes you to get to where you want to shoot - and more importantly, where to find the best coffee afterwards!
Avoca can even have a lot to offer in the middle of the day
And while you may head to the same area within your location, I find it forces you to look for different compositions. This can set you up nicely when you do visit new locations - you may find that your composition skills have improved just by looking at things differently.
Some of the benefits -
Conditions are never the same - the weather and seasons change and the same location can look quite different on any given day.
Finding new and different compositions - revisiting a location will help train your eye to see different compositions, find different angles, and generally encourage you to think and improve your eye.
Trying different camera heights and angles - if you can’t find any different compositions at any time, it is a good opportunity to also play with tripod height and camera angle - this will totally change your composition and help with sparking new ideas.
1 - 30 seconds or more - dreamy, almost smoke-like effect on the water while enhancing colours and cloud movement in the sky.
2 - 1-2 seconds - nice ‘waterfall’ effect of water flowing off the rack shelf.
3 - 1/100 or faster - this will ‘freeze’ the water, think of a wave crashing on the rocks.
Now, all the three examples above (and many more) can work. More often than not I’ll try a combination of these when I go out for a shoot.
I do regularly shoot the same locations again and again, and while I love going to new locations, going back to the regular locations provides great learning experiences.
You can also build up a series of photos to display - this could be on a wall, a photo book or gallery - so many options.
Now I thought I’d touch on when you’re travelling to new places, and may not always have the opportunity to revisit numerous times. You just have to ‘suck it up’ and make the best of the conditions at the time.
If at all possible get there early (for sunset), or even better do a scouting visit beforehand if you’re planning to photograph sunrise. This will not only help with finding a decent composition in the dark, you’ll know exactly where to park and how long you need to get in place and set up before that incredible first light of the day.
If either of these options aren’t possible, then do your research. This can give you enough information on what to expect and where you might like to position yourself.
My two cents on ‘copying’ other photographers as a result of said research. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with getting inspiration from those that have been there before you, or getting the ‘classic shot’ of an iconic location. To me this is how we learn, and they are iconic for a reason. But, if you have the time after you’ve got your ‘shot of the day’, then go explore and play - you never know what you might find.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
That’s it for now - Keep smiling and stay caffeinated
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