I find creating new work in my own backyard very difficult. It’s a challenge to me and, most of the time, I enjoy the challenge presented. Most of the area around me is cotton fields or some other type of flat farmland. Sometimes it takes a drive around the countryside to find what inspires me, sometimes it’s just a short walk away. Everybody loves going to and photographing famous sights. But those are all over done and hard to get anything original. While it’s nice to get your own view on the most beautiful spots in the world, it’s hard to get a shot that’s going to sell.
Most recently, I was in the slot canyons taking a very different approach in Lower Antelope Canyon. I was focusing on the walls and various textures when one of the guides asked me if I was going to keep taking photographs of the walls or if I was going to get some of the more iconic shots of the canyon. At first, I was kind of offended. How dare you question my vision! But then I got that I was missing some of the iconic shots that, to be honest, I really didn’t care for. I wanted something original from the slots that nobody else has gotten. (I know, I know, that’s impossible..) I wound up getting my iconic shots and I got some lesser seen shots out of the three slot canyons I visited. I was very happy with the end results.
Back to the point, finding the shots around you and not in the iconic locations is where you show your true colors in photography. It’s not hard to make the super beautiful areas look super beautiful. In fact, if you can’t, you look like a horrible photographer if you can’t accomplish that. But if you can take a mundane environment and make it look surreal, you’ve really done your job as a photographer. Make that your goal. Get out there and make the dull look awesome!
(The above image was taken about an hour away from my house while driving around looking for a subject. Saw this tree by itself out there and pulled over to the side of the road and made this image.)