Corn, Clouds,and Tree

Corn, Clouds, and Tree, Woodbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

Corn, Clouds, and Tree, Woodbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

I know I’m not alone. I know that most-probably all-photographers either by design or necessity, (I almost said proclivity) return to the same well over and over again. We sometimes complain-often loudly-that there isn’t anything new to photograph, and feel that the only way to exercise our shutter fingers is to aim our cameras at subjects we are certain we have covered from top to bottom. To make matters worse, we feel guilty about it. It’s a waste of time we think, and we should hang our cameras up until we get a chance to visit some exotic location where we will try to make informed and insightful images in one, all too short, visit. Oh, sometimes it works and we come away with good stuff, and we credit it to the chance to see and record something new. But, I know from experience, that the results are often a poor rehash; with so little time we fall into the trap of imitating, unintentionally of course, images we have seen of this place before because we haven’t the time to do anything else.

How much better then to have the luxury of seeing, and photographing, a place or thing over time? To see it in all varieties of light, to experiment with composition, to record it in black and white as well as color, to get to know it in a manner that can only be done over time.

I get antsy sometimes, and long to go shoot someplace new, but I remember Edward Weston’s famous image, Pepper (# 30). The logical implication is that there were 29 images made before it, and in fact he didn’t stop with 30, but made at least 5 more images of peppers. Peppers for god’s sake! If he could do that, surely I can look a little harder at my whole town that must have even more possibilities. Why must we think everything should be easy?

Olympus OMD EM1 with 12-40 f2.8 zoom

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