Something of a mixed bag from my little impromptu photo session yesterday.
No really specific plan in mind although there were a couple of tasks I’d set myself.
The first was to try out another bit of kit I’ve recently acquired, though more of this in a different post probably. The second was to grab some shots of a new feature in the town centre that, for some weeks past, I’d interestedly observed being constructed.
I think workmen finished it about three weeks or so ago, but yesterday was the first real opportunity I’d had to get some clear shots of it.
Not especially brilliant shots I have to add but about the best I could manage under the circumstances…
That done it was a case of “Hmm, where shall I go now?”
Well, absent any other bright ideas there’s always the river. Ho hum.
Stroll casually about a half-mile along one side, cross over a bridge, then stroll equally casually back along the other.
Its quite amazing really. Given how many pics I’ve already taken of that location you’d think all potential would be exhausted. Wouldn’t you? Well, I certainly would.
And yet, as yesterday proved (once again, it has to be added) there still seems to be “something else”… a slightly different perspective. Or a different angle. Or even something I’d not noticed on previous occasions perhaps.
Plus (and I may well have observed this before), some things are always changing. The lighting. The weather. The time of day even. Any of which can help to bring out or emphasise different features, or even different aspects of the same feature.
So I think the real problem with re-visiting a place over and over again isn’t actually exhausting the potential for pics (despite my having moaned about this very thing several times in the past) but one’s own “boredom threshold” as it were.
Which is to say that its not the place itself that runs out of opportunities, but one’s own ability to “see” those opportunities. An ability that seems to become jaded (or perhaps “blinded”?) by familiarity.
There’s another dimension to this that’s also relevant I suspect.
Y’see, I’m not one of those “collectors of places”… a phrase that seems to me to describe the approach of some photographers.
A bit like stamp-collecting, or trainspotting or whatever. Go to a place and “collect” pics of it then lose all interest in it other than perhaps as a topic of “this is where I’ve been”, with the pics themselves becoming almost like trophies.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. Indeed, undoubtedly an element of that enters into what I do. But its just that, of itself, it wouldn’t work for me. Not if that were my sole reason for taking pics.
I think its a question of approach.
Contrary to what may be assumed by an exploration of my photography so far (particularly my “Bedfordshire collection”) I have little real interest in being just a “scene snapper”.
I think its not so much the scenes but the photography itself that interests me.
Sure, I enjoy snapping different things, and going to different places specifically to take pictures of it. Hell, that’s exactly what I seem to be doing a lot of the time.
But over and above that what really does it for me is trying different approaches, different techniques. Looking for different angles, or an unusual perspective.
Then there’s that whole thing about going somewhere and finding, for whatever reason (though usually the weather or the light), the pics all turn out to be utterly naff. Which of course then demands a revisit at some point.
Also bring to this mix the “learning experience”. The more different things one tries out the more one learns. Theoretically, anyway. So at some stage one re-visits all the old familiar photo haunts to try to bring all that newly acquired experience to bear. Experience not just of what “works” and what doesn’t in terms of composition etc but also of different “camera techniques”. Maybe!
Plus there’s the issue of learning (and becoming familiar with) the limitations of one’s kit. What the camera’s capable of achieving (and how best to exploit that potential). What aberrations the lens introduces (hell, we can’t all afford those super-duper ultra-expensive lenses!). Basically, how to turn all the flaws into features (one of my favourite little stunts).
Thus I think my real rationale is not so much “collecting photos” as actually “doing photography”… sort of thing.
In a sense I suppose for me the end result isn’t the photograph per se but actually using the camera. A manifestation possibly of my “gadget freakness”!
Consequently I’m not really in the least surprised when I find myself shooting the same thing over and over again, at different times… but each shot just slightly different. Done in a different way perhaps, or from a different angle or something. Or catching the light in a different direction.
Sure, I may moan about it from time to time (and frequently do!)… but hell, what would life be like without a good moan now and then?
So, as I say, down one side of the river a little way, then back up the other.
And, surprisingly (well, I’m surprised at least!) I end up with a few pics that I really really like. And it wasn’t even a proper “photo session” as such… more just a case of filling in some time!
Back into town then, and along the High Street toward my “home from home”.
I’ve noticed in the past how interesting some of the architecture along the High Street is, particularly if one looks “up”… above shop level. And indeed I’ve grabbed one or two pics in the past. Though oddly, not that many. Chance for a few more then.
And then it rained!
In fact, weather-wise, the entire day was a bit strange. Very warm, and beautifully sunny… sometimes. Then suddenly everything turned grey and a little bit of a downpour. Heavens having emptied, snap! And its sunny again. And so on.
One of those days when by looking in one direction gorgeous blue sky and white fluffy clouds can be seen then, about-turning, in the other direction there’s nothing but darkness and “ooh, don’t like the look of that” overhead. Weird.
Plays havoc with the exposure and white balance too!