I have written before that wherever I lived would be where I would be taking pictures. When I was just out of my teens and serious about photography I had considered applying to the Banff School of Fine Arts to take their photography course. Had I done that I probably wouldn’t be living in Edmonton and would definitely NOT be photographing the prairies.
Banff National Park like it’s northern sister Jasper National Park is one of the most beautiful and photogenic places on earth. Had I spent my two years in Banff I no doubt would have found a way to live there and make a career. I also would probably NOT be the photographer that I am today. You’ve heard the old saying that it takes steel to sharpen steel? I think that applies to photography and life in general.
A long time ago I used to shoot fashion. I worked with all kinds of talent. From those who got their first editorial photo assignment ever to those who came back home for a few weeks to say hi to family and fly off again to Europe or Asia.
I learned to photograph people by working with those also starting out in the business. There was a lot of trial and error. Lots more of teaching or coaxing models into poses to get over their nervousness or awkwardness. It was challenging and the results weren’t always the greatest but I tried to learn from my mistakes and move forward. Then one day my editor told me about the shoot for the day and the very well traveled model that was returning from overseas. She’s only be in town for a few days and we had a chance to work with her while she was still in town.
Her name was Sara or Sarah and when we arrived together at the old mansion with the stylist I was not sure what to expect. Camera in hand and model styled and dressed I quickly mentioned the idea I had for the mood of the shoot. Camera to eye and the magic happened.
Sara was chameleon like. Instantly her body, her face and her eyes fluidly moved from one pose to the next. I went through roll after roll of film amazed that fashion photography could be so easy. Getting back to the lab and going through the proofs my eyes did not deceive me. Everything looked fantastic. Wow! Was I ever a great photographer!
Nope. I was the same photographer that was working with great talent.
It’s like that when photographing the national parks here in Canada or the US. It’s easy to get addicted to the magnificent vistas but those vistas don’t need much in the way of help and we get fooled into thinking that we’re farther along in our photographic learning than we really are. We are only fooling ourselves when all that we capture are the stunning landscapes that we see regularly on photo websites.
Maybe I’m too lazy to make the four hour drive to take pictures every time I get the urge? I’ve become enamored with photographing close to home and then being home to edit my pictures before most of us are getting out of bed.
There is a special beauty where you live. It doesn’t matter where it is on earth but you do have the ability to capture those magic moments that few ever see or appreciate. Don’t make that mistake. There are too many good photos only minutes from you.