I have photographed Fort Clinch on Amelia Island around a dozen times. I’m fascinated by the light and architecture—the many tunnels, windows, doorways, arched ceilings and worn, handmade bricks. I usually go with my tripod, camera and one or two zoom lenses on lightly overcast (preferred) or sunny days.
Earlier this week, I was on the island and it started raining. I ditched my plans, grabbed my camera and drove to the fort. No tripod, no zoom lenses, no filters. Just a 50mm lens and an umbrella. The rain tapered, but it was still wet, drizzly and moody.
Shooting in different weather wasn’t my only motive for returning. I wanted to try looking at the fort in new ways. Handholding allowed me to be more playful. The 50mm lens required me to zoom with my feet—physically moving closer to or farther away from my subject.
I noticed some things had changed at the fort. Furniture had been rearranged; some windows had been opened while others had been closed; the pantry was open in the kitchen; white barriers had been randomly placed along an exterior staircase (above); a different (interpretive) soldier was on duty.
When you find a subject or location you like to photograph, keep going back. See what has changed. Capture different moods by photographing in different seasons or light. Push yourself creatively by focusing on something different, using a different lens, or experimenting with a different technique each time you go. Be open to the serendipitous—the interaction of people or animals with a place or each other. One time think broad views; another time think intimate details. Look for opportunities to tell different stories about or reinterpret a place.
Is there somewhere close to your home or a place you travel to often that you could photograph regularly? Why not start building a portfolio of images about that place? If you do, I'd love to hear about your experience.