Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

It’a a common rule in photography that to take great photos when you’re out in the world, you need to… well, have your camera with you. And yet, how many times do we all leave the house without our gear? There are lots of reasons for this, naturally. Where you’re going and what you’re doing during a given day will, of course, help you make the decision to take your camera or leave it home. In my case, it’s a combination of being at work during the day and oftentimes going somewhere else after work. Combined with the fact that at this time of year, it’s dark by the time I’m heading out of work and you’ve got a great prescription for not having it on me.

But wait a sec. My phone (a Droid X) has a pretty kick-ass camera in it. It’s a great substitution for almost any point-and-shoot out there. Yet still, days go by without new photos. (Yep, as promised at the outset, most of these photos are from a summer vacation.) Why? We tend to get comfortable with our surroundings. We adapt until what’s new and noticeable becomes simple background. As a result, we drive by some pretty remarkable photo opportunities. We don’t even notice they’re there, either. Until we go searching for photos to take. Then we plan out places to go (and not where we go every day, in most cases) and what we’ll shoot. The problem is, you can rarely script life.

Sometimes the best photos happen when you’re not prepared for them. As a result, you’ve got to adapt your thinking. Learn to look around all the time. At everything. And then, when you catch a glimpse of the elusive groundhog, you’ll be prepared to capture it. But first, you’ve got to be paying attention.

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