#TechniqueTuesday – Finding Inspiration in the Familiar


While I’m always adding new workshop location destinations to my list, it’s inevitable that I end up photographing in many of the same locations time and time again. Part of the draw of an Art Wolfe workshop – especially here in the Pacific Northwest –  is the expertise we have on these locations. So how do you find new ways to challenge yourself while coming away with new images from a location that you’re already familiar with?

Aside from the obvious, try to find new conditions and lighting. A night shoot can completely change a composition as the light sky darkens and the scene becomes a study of star and moonlight. Go outside your comfort zone and toss a lens on your camera that you hadn’t really considered, like a wide angle or fish-eye trying different points of view and perspectives.

Many of the images in my upcoming book Night on Earth are examples of seeing familiar locations in a new way.

Most importantly – move! Depending on the lens you are using, moving a few feed can make a huge difference. Move around, turn your body – get low to the ground. Abstract your subject into studies of color, shape, and form. The ideas are endless! Just a small example –  I spend so much of my time at home working in my garden, yet it’s always surprising even to myself when the inspiration takes me. I can grab my camera and spend hours seeing it from a new perspective.

How do you keep it fresh? leave a comment below with your ideas! And if you want to join me and explore them in person and see how I get the most out of a familiar subject, I’ve got a Mt. Rainier Fall Color workshop on the calendar!

4 Responses to “#TechniqueTuesday – Finding Inspiration in the Familiar”

  1. Susan Bach says:

    Hello Art and greetings from Dundalk,MD.
    I’m a self taught photographer who learned while routinely driving in her VW Bug through the backroads of central MA and along the Connecticut River in the ‘70’s. Now I’m your young age living in a retirement community just outside Baltimore. I’ve discovered a couple of small parks and side streets I drive to a couple times a week. One is an inlet with gulls,ducks and a variety of coastal water foul depending on the time of year. I’m now searching for what new plants are emerging with the seasons. Going on routine drives and discovering new neighborhoods keeps my creative juices flowing. Also,I’m learning about wildflowers and habitats.
    Thanks for all your inspiration over the years.

  2. Ed Quigley says:

    Hey Art, I’m one of the lucky ones, as I live on Salmon Beach, a little waterfront community in the shadow of “Galloping Gertie”, where all the houses are on pilings and facing west, and all I have to do to be inspired to grab my camera is to look out my front door. Seals, whales, sea otters, blue herons, eagles, a deck load of flowers and absolutely gorgeous sunsets! I have to admit that since my plants are all in pots, I DO envy your little bit of heaven up there in Seattle, and hope some day to be able to see your gardens! Also, Pt. Defiance is only a 15 minute walk away, and is ALWAYS a good place to go walk around with my camera. At 77 yrs. old, the 200 stairs to the parking lot keeps me pretty functional!

  3. Carol Todd says:

    Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest it makes sense that I love landscape photography. However, I am now trying candid people shots as well as monochrome. Starting to see things differrently.

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