Techniques, Reviews and Commentary

Go Somewhere Else

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Mulwaree Ponds in Winter, Goulburn NSW - iPhone 4S

But here's the thing, there is literally a world of great locations and fascinating spots that almost no one bothers to capture because they are not the "recognised photo locations" or perhaps because they are a little to subtle to be recognized for their photographic potential.

Chances are some of those opportunities lie close to where you live.  Take my own situation, I live in Goulburn NSW, it’s not known as a world beating landscape location. It's no Grand Canyon, Ularu or the Kimberleys, but tell you what, I can think of at least a dozen reasonably local spots that are really quite stunning, yet I can only think of one Photographer (a good friend, Peter Sykes) in my area other than myself who has turned a lens upon any of them.

It's the old classic situation, people don't see what is right in front of them yet happily travel thousands of kilometres at great expense to shoot the same stuff that everybody has already seen and shot a thousand times before.

And yes I know that part of the fun of photography can be capturing images of the classic photo locations. It’s almost a right of passage, what serious photographer doesn’t want to place their tripod legs in the indents that the great Ansel Adams left behind at Yosemite. But lets not forget, that part of the appeal of those celebrated photos taken by the “greats at the now classic locations” is that they were the first to do so!

Well you can be the first to do so in your own “new and close to home” location!


Rocky Hills Gums, Goulburn NSW - iPhone 4S

Just think for a moment about the great advantage you have over the 'blow ins " when it comes to capturing those great locations close to home.  You know what times of the year would work best, how the light angles will change through the day, what weather conditions would give the best effect.  But perhaps it goes even deeper than that, maybe you know the perfect angle, what gear might work best, how to get there easily.  All great advantages, but none of them come even close to your greatest advantage....time!

Yes you have time on your side, you can wait until the stars align and the moon shines in your direction.  And there's more, unlike the intrepid traveller you can go back again and again until you get it right!

Ultimately the difference between a great image and and an average image is not location, but one of subtleties related to the execution, timing, composition and a whole raft of other minor factors.

In most cases you have little control over many of the factors as a casual tourist, the weather will be what it is, you have other places to get to so lingering too long may not be an option and so on. But, I feel there is one overarching factor that is not normally taken into account by tourist photographers yet leads to disappointment on the return home. Your lack of experience with the environment your shooting, it’s all new and all exciting and as a result it rather overloads the senses and colours your judgment. As a result when you get home, removed from the excitement of the moment, the images often look.....plain or even unexciting or maybe truly boring.

The good news is the stuff closer to home is known to you, you long ago got over that flush of initial excitement, and that my friends allows you to concentrate far better on what is really important about the photo you are about to create. Trust me your approach will be far more measured and careful, you are much more likely to pick up on the real values of the potential image and create something that truly works rather than a holiday snap that is just like the thousands that have come before.


Garbage Tip Gums, Goulburn NSW - Minolta Dynax 7 400 ISO film

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