What to shoot - home based.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by RaymondC, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. Just wondering what you guys shoot if you are home bound. Many live in suburbs, commute to work in the city. Say you haven't traveled anywhere for 5 or 10yr, not even a day trip. What would you shoot?

    I haven't spent anywhere in my country that was 1 night or longer since 2010 I may just do a trip for a week or two to get some shots. I guess there is street photography, event and sports when it happens then it is maybe shooting the same stuff over again at different times right for a different version or interpretation and I guess there are family and friends events.

    Like to know your views.
  2. SCL


    I'm probably the outlyer here. Early in the 20th century one of the most famous physicists was asked what was left to explore in the world...his answer was quite telling, he said he could easily spend the next 600 years exploring the wonders of his 1/4 acre backyard...every bird, plant, pebble, leaf, etc. For health reasons I've had periods in life when I've been actually unable to leave my house for months on end, and I often thought of missed opportunities when I hiked all over the world in earlier years. Then I reflected on the physicist story and found that the opportunities were endless, especially with a DSLR where I didn't have to worry about the chemistry of processing film...some might call it instant gratification. The intricies of house plants, reflections in rain puddles on my deck, sunrises and sunsets, birds at the bird feeders, the interplay of light & shadows on nearby houses, my pets, getting to know my lenses really well - what were their sweet spots, their (I hate the term) bokeh, which ones were good for what, etc. I did a themed slideshow on my kitchen in winter in B&W in which I had a blast with pots boiling, sun streaming in thru the windows which were frosted over, etc. I think each photographer is different in what turns them on, but a little self introspection can usually turn up opportunities to view the mundane and ordinary in a different and challenging light. You may be looking for more concrete examples, but hopefully you'll get some ideas from my ramblings.
    adey, AlRohrer and William Michael like this.
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I have spent several hours attempting to make a good shot of steam coming out of a kettle, that's just one picture which interests me - there are lots of diverse happenings; Objects and Subject within home environs - I don't think the limitation is what is there, I think you need to get around and fossick more attentively and inquisitively.

    On the other hand, your opening post doesn't read as though you are "home bound" - what I mean is it doesn't read as though you are physically constricted / restricted to being indoors - so that seems easily addressed by taking your camera everywhere that you go - look up look down and look sideways; every day is different even if you tread a similar path.

    DavidTriplett likes this.
  4. Shoot what you love. For me it's family and our life. I think on Friday we are going to Yosemite for the day. It's close enough for a day trip.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  5. I can recall one period in an exceptionally high stress, life devouring job where I shot "Desk-scapes" - some were even interesting. When the light is good, I'll pick a lens and camera, and just walk out and around the house. Nearly always something interesting. I frequently take along a camera in the car when doing errands. That works well on occasion -- an example in my gallery is a trip to the dump!. The light and the eye guide the process. Best of luck and never give up!.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  6. I took the 1st picture I ever sold, a sunrise reflected in modern architecture on B&W film while commuting to highschool either walking or more likely cycling there.
    For me everything more decelerated than a car works fine.
    Recent dryswimming: Yesterday I walked a bit through town during an errand before work and noticed a bunch of potted plants on a historical balcony that caught my eye. Later at night I became conscious of a streetlight plants graffiti combo and wished I had a tripod. Today I passed a balcony with some nice LED illumination.
    Give yourself an assignment: The annual "***... my hometown" calendar.
    Have you tried 15mm selfies yet?
    "shooting the same stuff over again at different times right for a different version or interpretation" isn't wrong when you are trying to grow the landscaper's basic skill of knowing when to be there for the perfect light and sky that way.
    How about some strobist / studio practice on somebody else's flowers?
    My hometown has 210K inhabitants and 2000+x years of history. - While it lacks beautiful ruins and decay I wouldn't call it boring.
  7. Ernst Haas had his students in Yosemite do a particular drill. He gave them a viewing card that is nothing more than a card with a 2x3" or 24x36 mm rectangle cut out of it. He had them stand in one place and look around through the card moving it closer and further from their eye and they were required to find 10 photos that way. Do it sitting at your desk, in your chair, in your yard. It's free, make one. Are there any events in your area? Are there any trade mark or cliched locations near by? Take the card and look for as Haas liked to say I am not interested in shooting new things, I am interested to see things new. Living in an area gives you the luxury of being around for various stunning weather/lighting conditions when they happen. Do you have any photo clubs or photo meetup groups. Google meetup and photography for your area. Shooting with a group and seeing what they saw that you didn't helps expand your vision. Can you practice extrapolating what you are seeing to line, shape and form, ignoring the identity of the objects in front of you? That helps finding the geometry of what is around you and may lead you to some b&w images.
  8. Check out From My Window, by André Kertész, for inspiration on what can be done from home.

    Also, a lot of the kinds of experiments done by Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy might give you some ideas about the kinds of things you can approach without taking a trip.
  9. Around 40 years ago my Dad started a year long project to shoot one photograph per day of the same tree from the same spot in his office parking lot. The tree was a large and mature. It had suffered the effects of ice storms over the years and frankly was one that I would not have selected to shoot. But, it was available to my Dad who had little time to indulge his interest in photography. At the end of the year he assembled all 365 photos into a slide show. The individual images were not particularly interesting in their own right but, as the show progressed, so did the seasons and the life cycle of the tree. It made a lasting impression.
    A few years ago I found the slides, still in chronological order, and scanned them. I put a show together to play to Vivaldi's Four Seasons and the tree and the year the show represented came to life.
    Things we take for granted and pass every day can become interesting photographic subjects given a few moments' study.
  10. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    You've asked this sort of question before in the context that you want to do landscape photography but the area around your home doesn't stimulate you. I don't suppose you're alone from that perspective and indeed I've said before that I travel to get virtually every photograph I make. If you really feel you can't travel, you need several (not one) themes that you're happy to pursue. To get them have you picked out maybe 50 photographers on here, and 50 on say Flickr, look at what they shoot and pick out themes others are following apparently successfully in terms of enjoyment and quality of photograph. Then question which are the most attractive of these themes and consider which of them translate successfully to your home area. Aim for half a dozen themes or a few more so that each time you go out you're liable to come back with something, and make sure there's a mix that would cover different seasons, conditions etc. Frankly, if you look at 100 good photographers' work and you see no ideas that would stimulate you to do something broadly similar near home, then you must either review your apparent reluctance to travel, or try fishing.
    Jochen likes this.
  11. Thanks all.

    I think the reasons are the financial side of it but if I have a few that are travelling as well they tend to be do normal things and photog cannot be prioritised. While I did do some photog in HKG on my last trip, it was mainly street type because the others were just into night markets, eatery stops, and before you know it is dinner time or that they were just too tired or they need to move on and have their things to do.
    don_davis|4 likes this.
  12. Go to the store and buy some fruit or flowers and set up a still life to photograph. I got interested in shooting flowers and insects because they are right in my yard and I can go outside after work and take a few shots.
  13. Robin Wong manages to find variety on the street, and interesting people in his neck of the woods. Is a city which helps of course. Exotic to us but we could be exotic to him, right? Red barns and whatnot. http://robinwong.blogspot.com/
  14. Lots of different kinds of stuff:
    • still life; fruits in a bowl, pots and pan, "stuff" around the house
    • plants and flowers in your yard
    • birds
    • family portraits
    • houses
    • people in a shopping center or park or other public place
    • Get into closeup/macro photography and you have another world of stuff to shoot.
    • Give yourself a challenge to find and shoot within a block of your house:
      • Things that are red, or blue, or ...
      • Mail boxes
      • Street signs
      • Cars
      • Wheels
      • Man-hole covers
      • etc.
    IOW there are a LOT of stuff to shoot, if you let your mind think out of the confined box.
  15. I could make a career out of nothing more than sunsets from my back yard, but I am unusually blessed (and thankful for it).
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  16. I don't travel much but I do take a lot of photographs. I've found a wealth of interesting subjects in my home district for years, and I've noticed that when I do occasionally travel to far distant places, my photographs are mysteriously similar to those that I take back home.
    So I guess i'm saying it doesn't matter a lot where you are, it's more who you are that determines the quality and content of your images.
  17. A good starting point can be to pretend you're a tourist visiting your area. Also look at the mundane, but largely undocumented, subjects around you. Locally popular things.
    • Nationally recognized Polyspheroid Watertower 200 meters from my front door​
    • WT-4.jpg
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  18. Try going Macro...
  19. More thoughts: +1 to going Macro. Also, studies of vernacular architecture (both whole buildings and architectural details) can become very engaging, particularly if one picks a theme (such as chimneys or dormer windows, or works by a single, notable craftsman) and really exercises an exploration of that theme using varying formats, exposure techniques, seasonal conditions, etc. I find it is more about finding the time to spend (having a day job and a family) than it is about subject material. Adding historical research or local knowledge to one's photos adds richness and meaning, to the point where such studies can become very real assets to the community. Become an expert in selected aspects of your community's history, and then document that history in images and words, and you can make a meaningful and lasting contribution, even one that will outlive you.
  20. monet.JPG

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