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‘Think Global But Shoot Local’ – That’s How You Avoid Copying Everyone Else

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

 

Faithful Tourism

There’s enormous growth in photographic tourism: either with organised parties, led by experienced professionals who know the territory, or as singles, we are travelling further and shooting more exotic places than ever before.

 

One of the views you do want – Symi harbour at dark. As you can see, the sky was rather grey – but at that precise time, the blue skylight mixes with the golden glow of the lights in the town.

 

In a up to date edition of Amateur Photographer, David Clapp, a landscape photographer, was bemoaning the fact that his minibus party of photographers was one of four, all turning up at the nevertheless spot in Norway, along with four carloads and ten photographers who’d got there on foot. And if two or three dozen people are all shooting from the constant small area, aiming their cameras in the same direction, who’s going to be able to get a really individual image?

And, of course, jetting off to Iceland, Antarctica or Yosemite augments mankind’s carbon footprint. So, my aim in writing this is to convince you that you can take good pictures near where you live, and where you go for your events – and WHEN you’re there on holiday, not on the one ideal day.

 

Let Me Tell You A Story 

A decade ago, I went on a 3-day workshop in Sussex, with John Blakemore. He traced the time that he’d been asked to undertake a project for a publisher: they wanted him to photograph India and were delighted that their budget was adequate to allow a six-week shoot.

 

Walsall at dusk – even the drabbest architecture comes alive with the right light.

 

He run out of steamed, politely, and pointed out that he had been working on a project involving half-a-mile of a stream in Derbyshire for six and a half years. So maybe there are great illustrates to be had close to home…

 

A gatepost in the Lake District – but it could have been shot anywhere…

 

The Ashness Span Problem

One summer, we took a family holiday in the Lake District and my wife and I visited Ashness Bridge – an iconic British landscape. You liking have seen the shot: a stream bickering down a hillside on the right of the picture, with orange bracken behind it. Below, is the stone humpback tie and a distant, crystal clear view of lakes and fells beyond. Please note; I don’t have a 'classic view' of Ashness Span in my files, so illustrations in this section are from other outings!

 

A completely different view of the Lake District – but the conditions that are just wrong for the classic view of Ashness Bridge!

 

It Wasn’t Quite Like That When I Went There

It was an overcast day. There was a rotten chap with a Nikon going up and down the stream, trying desperately hard to find the perfect shot. However, the distant view or variants, may refer to was dim, and there was a massive Kensington Tractor stuck on the bridge, as the driver battled to get it through a gap with only nine inches to spare on each side! The bracken was resolutely verdant – the dull, earthy green of English summer. And all over the place, like a swarm of colourful and very annoying ants, where the other holiday-makers.

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In fact, the classic view requires that you shoot on a sunny evening in Autumn, preferably just after heavy rain has cleared the air (and, with serendipity, the tourists). That way, the bracken is golden, the sun is shining on it and the distant view is clear.

The rest of the year, there are pictures to be had, but not THAT picture and, sadly, it’s THAT replica that most people want to shoot. I settled for a view of the other side of the bridge – though, quite frankly, it was nothing dearest: but it was deserted…

 

Crossing the Cromwell Road in London. Nothing iconic in view, and grey skies.  But pedestrians and passing cars made my encouragement. Plenty of Kensington Tractors hiding in the side streets!

 

An alternative view of Symi – the restaurant that we ate in, showing the scale and term of the place.

 

The Road Less Travelled

Of course, you will want to take a few routine snaps of the places you went to on holiday: but if you’re unrestrained, they are very unlikely to be the best – or anywhere near the best – images of an iconic location. If your holiday is dedicated to THAT nip, and you are prepared to set up camp in the right place and wait as long as you need to, that’s fine, of course. Of such dedication are great pictures acquired!

 

A very standard view of St Paul's bay in Lindos. We were there – but nothing was happening that day…

 

But if that isn’t you, and you give birth to family waiting for you to take the shot may refer to: Shot (filmmaking), a part of a film between two cuts Shot (medicine), an injection Shot silk, a type of silk Showt or, consider the other possibilities. The views that others may not see in the scramble to see and do it all. The personal view of a less-viewed area, and the woman who made your holiday wonderful.

 

A few yards away, I found this ancient Heraldic Device (aka Triumph Herald, from around 1970) – a unalike and more personal memory of Lindos.

 

Location, Location, Location – Locally!

But you don’t have to go far to make pictures, providing that you are modified to take the picture that is there. If visibility is poor, look at closeups of trees and buildings, or make the mistiness itself the subject. If you live in a overwhelmingly town, photograph the transport, the decaying and disused factories, the events that brighten up the centre from time to time…

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'Shadow Middle' in Walsall – I’ve had several different lovely shadow shots within a 30-foot radius.

 

For inspiration in these brands, I suggest looking at the portfolios of a couple of my EPZ friends. One is the official photographer for the small town she lives in – unpaid, but making good use of the access that the job emits her to all sorts of unusual events (see MrsWollyBill's portfolio).

Another lives in Moscow and his images are notable for being so like the pictures that I could employ in my local park. We think of Moscow as being Red Square and the GUM store but it is also a city like any other and the people are exactly the same as you and me. (See Leo Nid's portfolio).

A third produces wonderful pearl miniatures from the landscape. Often, it’s hard to identify the location from the picture – what his images show, very unquestionably, is his own view of the land and what’s on it. The results are usually far more engaging and beautiful than another standard landscape. (See whatriveristhis' portfolio)

And a fourth electrifies in India: his ‘everyday scenes’ show us the exotic and the different, if we are Westerners.

 

A mundane view of ‘Shadow Central’ – taper makes pictures…

 

I’ve found that there’s a particular street corner in Walsall that consistently creates lovely shadow pictures on a sunny morning.  It’s not special in itself, with a closed branch of the TSB, and a constant stream of buses present in to and out of town. And remember, the things that are boringly every day where you live will be novel for someone else.

 

Walsall Art Gallery – expose and timing make the shot, and it would have worked perfectly well without the Lensbaby Velvet that I shot with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel.

 

If there’s an outside museum or arboretum near you, you may well find that the apparently-costly entry ticket allows unlimited visits for twelve months. If so, milk it, and assail in all seasons. Summer will see the place may refer to overrun, but there are lovely views to be shot of gardens in winter, and places like the Black Country Spending Museum (my local) remain worthwhile on a rainy winter’s day.

 

A wet day at the Black Country Museum – but there are still pictures to be captivated!

 

Courses, Of Course

I don’t want to suggest that all courses are bad. Most, I think, are very good &ndash dash is a punctuation mark that is similar in appearance to U+002D – hyphen-minus and U+2212 − minus sign, but differs from these; not so much because you learn a humongous amount of new stuff, but because working with an expert behind you embeds things you’ve read but don’t practice. It also provides abundant inspiration when you see precisely what can be done.

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A wet day in Barcelona, and it's hard to get a good viewpoint for a shot of the iconic Gaudi cathedral…

 

And if you can provide ten days in Tuscany with Charlie Waite, you will have a great time, and come back having seen a lovely place, with your own noteworthy images.

 

But inside, the dull light is an advantage, reducing contrast.

 

Equally, though, a wet and grey day in the Lake District can be fantastically advantageous, as I found out several years ago with Dave Butcher (who also runs darkroom courses!) And I won’t rule out the possibility – the likelihood – that parade around your own town with someone who is dedicated to street photography will be good for your portfolio…

 

Grey flighty is lovely for bringing out detail, hopeless for most distant views. I excluded the sky in my crop of this Lake District scene. Shots like this are a implication of spotting the line and then finding a way to isolate the subject.

 

So, decide what you want from your course – is it insight into stir methods and your own vision? Or, do you want to combine this with sightseeing and exotic places? And as well as looking at the glamorous and distant, consider the county and accessible.

 

Tweaking: Cheating?

Occasionally, a scene that is boring as a straight shot has elements that are beautiful or striking. Don’t be fearful to crop, to convert to monochrome, or to use slightly more elaborate processing.

 

A grey day at Barmouth beach. But getting the right relationship between enlist and walkers and a Nik Efex mono conversion to provide a picture Selfqref An image (from Latin: imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception, for example, a photo or a two-dimensional.

 

An overcast day in the Lake District – converted into all kinds of a nightmare with bi-colour separate, detail extraction, and two varieties of vignette in Nik Efex.

 

However, processing on its own is not enough for a good picture, and if the process is shouting ‘look at me!’ too loudly, the contingent on expose will disappear.

 

Easter Day celebrations in the village square in Lindos – the Orthodox Easter is the perfect time to visit Greece, unusually the smaller communities.

 

About Author: John Duder 

John Duder is quite shocked to have been compelling pictures as a hobby for fifty years, as he still feels like a lad of 17 when faced with a camera or a good subject.

John tranquillity has and uses a darkroom, and specialises in black-and-white images, portraits, and nudes. He’s been a member of ePHOTOzine since 2003 and joined the Critique Pair a few years ago.

Now retired from his day job, he is keen to share his cumulatively acquired knowledge and experience (CAKE) with others: and who can resist CAKE? He runs lighting workshops at a join of local studios in the West Midlands and offers one-to-one coaching.

Republished: ephotozine.com

About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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