Visiting a new location for the first time is usually an exciting outing. Oftentimes, it is the result from months of research & planning.
Personally, the sense of excitement, optimism & anticipation are hard to match when revisiting familiar location’s. With that hope of finding an image or angle nobody else noticed before. Maybe the weather will play ball and throw rare conditions which will provide a unique photo, almost impossible for others to replicate. Most of the time, my journey home is less exciting, knowing I’ve failed to capture the potential of the location.
Been there, done that!
I’d love nothing more than be able to tell everybody that I am so good I only need to visit any location once to nail it perfectly. Every so often, I get lucky. The weather plays ball and I come home with several good images from my first visit. It would be all too easy to then write the location off telling myself it’s impossible to better. Yet, I return – time and time again. Often coming home with nothing worth showing. Why, I hear you ask?
Just because I have captured a good photo from a location doesn’t mean I’m finished. I can get an equally good (or better) image that has different characteristics on a different day.
In Ireland, we can experience 4 seasons in 1 day (sometimes, even in 1 hour). Conditions are never the same, each day and season is different. This obviously has huge impact on the resulting images. Re-visiting locations time and time again, deepens my understanding of them. As my knowledge deepens, I see things in new ways. Intimate details start to appear. New angles and compositions jump out. Idea’s come into my mind that I never considered before. Not always, but sometimes. A simple change of light can open your eyes and mind to new possibilities.
There are a tonne of locations that I visited in my early days that I would be ashamed to show anybody images from now. My skill has grown. Who knows, in 5 years I could be embarrassed by the work I am taking now. No doubts, these locations will need to be re-visited time and time again.
I’ve said it before – landscape photography is not always just about the image. For me, it’s the experience, peace and enjoyment of the outdoors.
Ballycotton Lighthouse in Cork is a 3 hour drive from my home. I’ve been there numerous times and returned with only a handful of images I actually like. The two images below demonstrate perfectly just how different a location can present itself.