As a passionate traveler I often forget to explore the local landscapes. Instead of looking out my own window, I spend hours upon hours researching locations and daydreaming about traveling to exotic locations. What I tend to forget is the fact that most of the year is spent in my hometown, not in another country. So the last months I've become more focused on visiting some local areas rather than just day dreaming. I thought I knew a lot about my local area, boy was I wrong!
After a hike a couple months ago I suddenly realised how little I actually know about my local area. Sure enough I'm very known in the areas around my town as I often explore these areas, but if I drive a couple hours I reach areas I've barely even heard of before.
My lack of knowledge has motivated me to go exploring more lately, either it's close to home and doable in an afternoon, or it's a weekend or all day trip. Through a combination of researching and blind exploring I have visited locations I'm amazed to find so close to home. Waterfalls, canyons, lakes and mountains.
One of the biggest challenges for a photographer is being able to see the beauty around you, regardless of how often you have been there. I personally struggle with this, and even tho I take a lot of pictures in my hometown, I rarely share them anywhere as they just don't tell a good story.
That exact reason is why I found my newborn interest of local exploring so important. It has given me a huge boost and motivation to explore more and photograph where I come from and my part of the world. As you know, I love traveling, but I love photography even more. Thats why I have decided to spend more of my spare time traveling the surrounding regions. That does not mean I will travel less to other countries though! But I can't afford travelling internationally all the time.
For me that lives in a rather small town east of Norway, hiking the nearby woods is something you can do without being disturbed. When photographing a waterfall or maybe a overlook you have the entire place for yourself. No tourists to distract you and be in your shot, no kids shouting and breaking the silence. You're alone. You're free of any worries. It's just you and nature.
No I am not an introvert, but you have to admit that getting away from the daily rush is a peaceful experience! Not only that, but as a photographer don't you enjoy photographing locations that other people haven't seen before? I sure do. It's refreshing to introduce images to your portfolio that there isn't hundreds or thousands of others that have in their portfolio too!
The biggest difference of blind exploring and visiting heavy photographer locations is your knowledge of the place prior to the visit. Sometimes when exploring local areas you might not take any pictures. If the place is really close to home, I often go without my camera equipment just to enjoy a hike and do some scouting. If there are nice scenes I will return with my equipment, if not I had a great hike in fresh air. When exploring locations more than an hour or so away from home, I always bring my gear. Regardless of conditions or my expectations. Just keep in mind that it's not always just about getting the shot, enjoy the moment! Enjoy nature!
I'm looking forward to spending more weekends and afternoons hiking or exploring my home regions, and hopefully being able to capture the beauty this side of Norway offers.
Do you spend time exploring your local area?