Ok, so this may come as a bit of a contradiction as I sit by a hotel pool in Bali, ( a family, no camera break), also with several photography trips planned for the year ahead, I find myself wondering about how far I travel for my photography and do I really need to. Don't get me wrong, I know how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do and to have a supporting wife who takes care of things back home, but after a recent emergency trip back to the UK, which fortunately coincided with some wonderful weather conditions, made me question do I really need to travel so far to enjoy what do.
A familiar everyday scene, simplified and removed of clutter is now far more worthwhile and satisfying to my photographic sole. The search for images does not need to take you far from your backyard. No need for check-in's or trying to hide your precious overweight carry on, none of the stress I find withn airport security, and most importantly not being away from my family. Photography for me is a very selfish pursuit. I need to either immerse myself 110% or not at all. Hence the camera free family trips.
The image above was taken almost on the back doorstep of my childhood. I have past these fields on more occasions than I could carer to remember. May be not dramatic enough for most, but in these conditions I find them strikingly beautiful. Captivated for nearly two hours, with one of the biggest smiles I've had for ages, I worked my way around, even managing to skype with the kids back in Australia to show them the bliss I was in...to be honest they didn't share my excitement though!
In my recent travels I have taken notice of even the most ordinary things and moments and seen these with new meaning. My eyes and mind are becoming tuned to a frequency of wonder and awe, and viewed with the right mindset, every single thing could become amazing.
So what if you looked at your own neighbourhood this way? The streets that you walk every day won’t ever be as exotic as those you see on the web these days, but there’s beauty in the familiar that you miss when you don’t look for it.
Ofcourse to travel is a fantastic way to get out and take pictures of new and interesting landscapes, it is something I would never hesitate to recommend. I love travel as much as I love photography itself, but knowing your own countryside like the back of your hand has its merits. The lie of the land, what hour the sun rises and sets, from which way the "good weather" comes from is all knowlage money can't buy.
What was once a must have shot from a location that has now been shot to death has left me with little desire to shoot, no matter how stunning the landscape may be. Even the challenge of finding a new shot has in those areas has gone. I crave more from my photography which I feel could possibly be easier to find than I once imagined.
There should be beauty in your own backyard as well. Chances are like me, you have just forgotten about it.