I started this blog a year ago to talk about my travels...and I have (Ireland and Scotland can be found in "older posts") but the sad truth is I spend more time dreaming about traveling than actually traveling. There is a photo trip coming up in Page Arizona that I've been obsessing about - a chance to capture the slot canyons, Lake Powell early in the morning and more - but I'm haven't found a way to afford all that I want to do. That doesn't stop me from constantly trying to figure out how to make it happen.
As much as I want to head for beautiful places to photograph, sometimes the best photography experience can be found close to home. I've discovered that living in the magnificent Hudson Valley. We are blessed with mountains, rivers, lakes and four totally different seasons. There is a cemetery within walking distance of my house where I've found gnarly old trees, a heron who hangs out with the geese and a pond that reflects Fishkill Ridge. I've even gotten some great gravestone images but I have no idea how to market them. I do use the place to "exercise" my craft. I'll head over there early morning, or just before the sun goes down, with one lens and challenge myself to find a good picture. One of my favorites is an old dead tree that looks as if it's chasing me - I call it "Monster" - it's many limbs are all akimbo and it seems to be reaching out with a spooky blue sky behind it. That tree is long gone now - I'm glad I captured it when I did. I especially like photographs that tell a story. The story can be different for everyone who views it, but they should all look at it and know that there's a story in there somewhere.
When I get home after a shoot, I upload all my images and delete any that are flat out garbage (we all have those) and try to zone in on what's my one favorite from the shoot. Which one is a "keeper." This habit has helped me become a more discriminating viewer of my own images. Sometimes I upload the "keeper" onto Facebook to get reactions from friends. Other times I'll save it for a photo competition or exhibit. But the routine of critically reviewing my images and selecting only the best has helped to make me a better photographer. I spend a lot of time looking at other photographer's images as well. I work for the Poughkeepsie Journal and always review the photography department's "Photos of the Week." I review stock company's sites and National Geographic. If you know what looks good, it will be easier to try and capture something good yourself.
Have fun shooting!