Getting to Know a Place

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San Francisco Bay Sunset Reflections at Low Tide, Alameda, California

San Francisco Bay Sunset Reflections at Low Tide, Alameda, California

As a landscape photographer, I can totally relate to the desire to travel around and see as much as we can fit into our time on this planet. The drawback to the scattershot type of approach is that it’s nearly impossible to come away with great images at every place you visit if it consists of a “one and done” which is most of the time for those of us who don’t have the luxury of traveling on the road year-round. A local photographer is almost always going to have a deeper, and usually better image collection from that given area. Which brings me to my point that if you keep your eyes and imagination open to your local surroundings then it’ll allow you to develop a deep understanding for how the landscape looks in any given situation.

In this situation, I’ve lived in Alameda for more than a year and a half now and have seen the beach in almost every way possible. I don’t always feel a need to make images as a result but when I do I’m looking for something special that can’t be replicated. Yes, I’m aware that beaches are generally not considered “boring” or “ugly” to shoot but this could apply anywhere. If I lived in Livermore I’d probably have a big collection of Patterson Pass images. If I lived on a farm in Iowa then I’d try to have the best collection of farm and cornfield images possible.

See more of my San Francisco East Bay photos.


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2 thoughts

  1. Spectacular pastel image Richard. I couldn’t agree more about photographing more locally. My experience corroborates with what you’re saying about going deep around your own area. It helps you understand how to go deep anywhere, if you have the opportunity. Lately I keep having experiences where my first visit to a place I don’t get much of consequence, then when I return the second or third time, I finally capture portfolio worthy photographs. My father wrote about this, I believe in Drylands, in relation to Death Valley and a few other places. He said Death Valley does not reveal its secrets easily to the casual visitor. Of course by now people have developed a sort of paint by numbers program for many locations. For example, if you just follow the Mojave yellow brick road, you can check off all the main attractions like the Racetrack, Mesquite Flat and Zabriski Point and you’re done. Nonetheless, what Dad said still applies in all these places. If you want to do something unique, do your homework ahead of time and if you can, visit a place at least more than once.

  2. Great advice from your dad, David. Even if people are doing the Racetrack, Zabriski Point, etc… Death Valley is so big that I’m sure there is room for further interpretation outside of those locations.

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