Deja View

The value of repetition as a tool for growth

Over the past couple years since purchasing a pro-level camera and getting more serious about photography, one thing that has stuck out to me so far is the value of visiting the same locations more than once. There are a variety of reasons behind this but I'll start with some basics and possibly elaborate further in future posts as my own experiences and skills expand.

A Time and a Season

A couple of the more obvious reasons for revisiting any particular location is exploring the differences that seasonal changes and time of day can make. Here in the midwest we typically experience all four seasons, although the winters have been getting progressively milder the past few years due to the effects of climate change. The two scenes shown below help illustrate; the first taken in late summer a couple of years ago and the second one just last month after a recent winter snowfall.

Both of these photos were taken at sunrise but distinctly unique in look and feel due to the seasonal differences in atmospheric effects and weather conditions. Differences in weather also play a role in the second set of images below, but here the time of day is different, with the sunlight being cast from opposite directions. A cooler effect and greater depth of field are also evidenced in the first image due to differences in the early morning light and haziness produced by the fog.

Getting to Know You

Another benefit of visiting the same area repeatedly are the insights gained through familarity and experience. The first pair of images shown above were taken just a few miles away from where I live. Finding local areas of interest such as this offer easy opportunities for getting familiar with them on a more intimate basis. And the more you go, the more you learn about the best areas to shoot and the best ways to capture them in terms of positioning, optimal camera settings, etc.

The second set of images were taken in Arizona, at a park near where my brother-in-law and his wife reside. Not a place I can visit every day but still one I have become familar with through trips taken over the past several years. Here I also experienced that the more you go, the more chances you have to get lucky. In the case of the fog image, that was an opportunity for a uniqely different perspective since Arizona averages only a few days of fog each year.

Do Look Down

After visiting an area several times and perfecting shots of the prime scenic areas, a next logical step is to explore alternative content. Often times it's just remembering to look up, or in the case of the images below, taken at the same spot at a wildlife refuge in Indiana, looking down to capture a small scene of leaves on the ground.

Spicing Things Up

Trying out new things, including new techniques and new equipment, can also bring fresh perspectives to familar scenes. On my most recent Arizona trip, I took my first shots at light painting and illumination using a Lume Cube. Thanks to my son for being the designated "light-waver" in the first scene at left :)

In summary, similar to achieving mastery in other disciplines, repetition in photography sets you up for success through fostering familarity and learning from your mistakes. You can then further expand your horizons through experimentation. Ultimately, regardless of how long it takes to get some "keeper" images, time spent out in nature is always worth the trip!

Creative Zero
Creative Zero

Fine Art

Champaign, IL USA

© briansullan