Over the last few years, I seem to have been stuck in one place. First, it was the pandemic, then my financials suffered, then some ongoing work. I am unable to travel to some nice exotic destination and enjoy some photography.
(Macro photography can be enjoyed at home, even with the smallest of gardens. No need to travel overseas for this. )
It seems that being stuck in one place is not a bad thing after all. Ansel Adams spent decades photographing just one national park. Vivian Maier worked all through her life capturing photographs on the street and around her workplace. There are many such examples. If I can’t travel to a place for a few months or years, I should not be disappointed. There’s always something interesting to click around the home turf.
(This Hoopoe loves to hop around our lawn and pick out grubs. Good for the lawn and good for the bird. Photographed with a Sigma 150-500 mm lens)
There is a lot of work to do at home. Garden work, maintenance work of the house, discussing politics with neighbors and giving my piece of mind, bargaining for a good deal for the next beer purchase, paying bills that never seem to come to an end… and many many other things. The last two months had been quite hectic. I did click photographs but did not get time to pen down any of my thoughts. So, today with the rain falling outside, sitting here and typing out some thoughts seems to be the right thing to do.
The blue whistling thrush that had made its home outside my window now has a huge family. Five of these fly around all the time and sing their lovely songs every morning and evening. The best part is that now I can hear some high-pitched chirp-chirp from the nests. Some more of these will soon hop around our place. Though I have many photographs of these birds, it is always fun to click some more. I am always wanting to click yet one more photograph that will be more colorful, clearer, sharper, and at a closer distance than all my prior attempts. This is one thing that keeps me busy with my camera without going anywhere.
When there is nothing to do, I just take a walk in the nearby woods. There’s always something interesting. With the change in seasons and the angle of light, even the frequently visited parts look different. A few days back, I went to the woods for a walk. Carried my camera along, hoping to photograph some critters or maybe some interesting flowers. I did not spot anything, but on the way back, saw the sun setting behind the distant trees. This looked like an interesting yet simple composition. Something that may work for marketing our homestay.
(Sunset photographed from a place very close to my home. This is an oversharpened version that works fine for Instagram on small phone screens.)
I already have hundreds of photographs of each and every flower that grows around our home. Hydrangeas growing in bunches are one of the most beautiful ones. Almost every week, for the last many years, I have been clicking photographs of these hydrangeas. Every time, trying to get more out of them. Maybe a better picture than before, an improved composition! Sometimes, it is just the feel of holding the camera in my hand, composing the shot, and pressing the shutter release. That itself is bliss. And, sometimes I feel, I did create a better photograph than all my last attempts.
The same applies to the snow peaks in front, or the countless images of sunsets that I have in my collection. Each photograph is of the same location but with different lighting, some subtle changes, and a different way of looking at things. Sometimes, the photographs look the same, and yet the feel is different.
(One of the many pictures of these flowers that I have. The high-key presentation attracts me to this one.)
What is important is to find time from the busy schedule and click. Capture the scenes around. Find beautiful photographs that are hidden away in plain sight. That is what I do when I can’t go anywhere.
The best part about exploring the same place, again and again, is the way of looking at things. We tend to become oblivious to what is there all the time. That same turn of the road, that same bunch of trees, that view from the window – we get used to all these things. So, when we try to photograph something, it tends to be different from what we keep seeing daily. Photographing in the same region, day after day, improves our visualization.
Sometimes, even when I am not with my camera, I do notice small things that I might miss when visiting a new exotic location. Instead of getting overwhelmed by new sights, I enjoy simple things.
(I found this old pine cone near a forest trail. When I turned it upside down, I found a whole lot of these ladybirds. We consider spotting even a single ladybird lucky, and here I was enjoying the contrasting presence of these little red wonders on the dry pine cone.)
Getting stuck in one place is not such a bad thing after all. Each day is different. Every moment is new. Endless possibilities to create beautiful photographs!
Dalai Lama has rightly said, Spend some time alone every day! It is during the time spent with oneself, that one realizes many things that are usually not noticed. Learning to photograph locally, in the place where one is staying, is one of the steps towards living mindfully. It is coming in peace with oneself. Walking around alone in nearby places, carrying a camera, and with no distractions, is a sure way to feel bliss.
Don’t have any plans to go anywhere? Take your camera out and enjoy photography!
Thinking of going somewhere? Do consider our homestay – Maini’s Hill Cottages, and pack your camera!