Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Different More New, Less Old, Less Same

This year I'm figuring more things out. I've been to a lot of places I go many many times. And when I go again now I struggle to see new things, and walk away with images that I like, that are unique, that tell a story, a new story.

Light Is Life
Light is Life

Read on for more.

On a related note, I watched a couple videos about neurogenesis, and how you can stimulate and regrow your brain.

What I think I took away from those are do new things, expect new results, make the bright new future come to you by just going out and living it. With too much inertia things will seem to never change, and your brain will actually fail to grow.

The way this relates to photography for me is that I am in year 5 of taking things seriously, and realized more so today that I need to hit new spots, try new things, and not just redo old travels.

I went to a new spot this past weekend, that was near another spot I just started to go to this year. The newer spot failed - there was nothing to see but ocean and a guy with a few scopes "counting" stuff. But the other new spot was great within moments of starting to shoot.


Would I take the above image over an even better eagle photo than I've ever taken? Probably not. I really like bald eagles and I would really like to get even better images. But what I've come to learn is for me to compete with myself (past trips, past photos, etc) I need to keep challenging myself and forcing myself to take new risks with new trips to unknown locations.

That's in relation to me and competing with myself, but I think when it comes to competing with others - I could go out and get a top of the line pro-dSLR and a 600mm or 800mm (assuming I wanted to retire a year or two later) and 'get closer' via gear alone. But I'm not ready to do that. It would be like a teenager getting a Corvette. It would be cool, and fun, but it wouldn't be the right thing to do. I want to learn as much as I can by a gradual increase in gear quality, and lots and lots of time using said gear, and wearing it out.

For the record, I've taken nearly 1,000 trips to places in 4 and 1/4 years, give or take a little, and I've taken 250,000+ images as of a month or so ago. Some days maybe 2 or 3 locations, other times 1 place a day.

What this means for me and the next couple months is that I am going to not go to Conowingo Dam anywhere near as much as past years. I've been a bunch of times already this year, but, not much grabbed me. It IS a little early for crazy days which come in late November and some of December.

Last year, early, I found a few new to me spots and I need to hit them during Fall - times I've never visited before. These are 'secret' spots, spots I share images from but not the locations of (on line that is, I've told many people I know in real life). A few images from these spots are:

MD Osprey

Great Horned Owl, and Owlet, 3 pix


Fox Kits

Oh Deer

Osprey Chick (#3)

What I like these days is not just seeing and capturing things, but seeing things others are not seeing and capturing. The uniqueness of an encounter is valuable to me. Shooting eagles with my 400mm next to a row of 500mm and 600mm lenses - assuming the photogs are as skilled as me, that's a wash, except for this or that in a way. I'd like to think I will capture things better than the next guy, but in reality they probably think the same thing, right?! So, I will shoot with my gear - that I like, that I've chosen, but I won't spend hours and days trying to keep up with anyone or out do them on a level playing field.

I want the playing field (which to me is knowledge, location, skill, execution, determination, vision, prediction, etc, etc) to be WAY stacked in my favor to make unique images that tell a story. The Jones' will need to keep up with me if I do it right.

Scott Bourne posted something recently about taking risks, and I read it today, and I agree. I want new results, better results, different results, and I am NOT going to try the same things as before to reach that goal.

Happy shooting,



Pat Ulrich said...

Hey Jon,
I've fallen into the trap of hitting up the same places and expecting the same great experiences I've had in the past, and then often coming home disappointed. When I'm planning out a trip its easy to get caught up in the excitement of previous visits, but if I go hoping to have the same experience it never happens. I think its great to learn the subtleties of a place by making many return trips, but I've been trying to make a conscious effort, as you've mentioned, to look for something new or unique about the place so that its not just striving for the same experiences, but instead making it challenging (and hopefully rewarding).

I enjoy your posts, and love the shot of the fox kits! Cheers!

D - Wing said...

I like your photos and comments.