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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Revisit Without Reprise

Take these tips back to the places you think you’ve worn out and you’ll find that there are infinite possibilities for discovery and images

This Article Features Photo Zoom

The Henry Mountains and South Caineville Mesa above the hills of the Blue Gate Shale Formation west of Hanksville, Utah.
Here are my favorite tips to help you shake those cobwebs loose:

1 Return at a different time of year to a familiar location to take advantage of different lighting angles. This is especially true in narrow canyons, where a slight change in sun angle can create a completely new composition.

2 Revisit a familiar place with a new camera format in mind. If you've only captured it in color before, look for compositions that work in black-and-white, or look for wide views and stitch multiple images together to create panoramas. You'll see the land in a new way when thinking in a new format.

3 Slow down and open your eyes. I discovered a great shot recently about 75 feet away from a road I've driven down scores of times. It was shockingly obvious, but I was either not paying attention or too locked into a schedule to investigate.

4 Create a project to photograph a familiar national park from new vantage points only. This project could be an e-book, a new gallery on your website or a collection of prints for your wall. Give yourself a deadline and create a schedule over several weeks or months.

5 Avoid the trap of returning to familiar vantage points over and over again in the hope that previous images can be improved. Dig out those old maps and scour them for new vantage points just over the ridge.

6 Revisit a favorite place you haven't photographed in 10 or more years. You'll discover just how much you've learned during the intervening time as you see things you never saw before.

7 If you've only visited an area in blue-sky weather, wait for stormy conditions to sweep in. Nothing alters a familiar scene more than different sky conditions.

The bottom line is, if we've become very familiar with a place, it's probably because we're extremely fond of it. By learning to view it from a new perspective, our relationship with it, and our photographs of it, will only be enhanced.

You can see more of James Kay's photographs and sign up for his workshops at jameskay.com.

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