Be Inspired! Photograph your home town! By Ashwin Rao

Be Inspired! Photograph Your Home Town…

By Ashwin Rao – Ashwins Blog

Hello, friends and followers of Steve’s site. Many of you have read my articles on travel. Stretching my legs in far off corners of the world has brought me inspiration for my photography and challenged me to find creative ways to express myself. Furthermore, Steve’s own travels with Seal on his tour through South America, South Africa, and Switzerland have clearly shown what a talented photographer can achieve with a camera and a few lenses in his or her bag, the world stretched out in front of him.

Sure, I’d love to travel the world all of the time, but the reality of the matter is that most of us may not get to venture far from home all that regularly. In fact, I spend most of my days photographing the places in which I live, the friends with whom I share my daily life, and the little secrets that my hometown shares with me. It is our hometowns that become so intimately intertwined in our lives, and this poses both the greatest strength and the most daunting challenge of photography: How does maintain photographic inspiration in their own home town

Here in Seattle, Washington, my hometown of 8 years, I have found a photographic nirvana. Having grown up in Ohio, I came to Seattle with the eyes of a tourist, always excited to explore and ready for the next adventure. It’s this approach that I have used to discover the city over the past 8 years, and it is this city in which I discovered photography and the excitement for creating pictographs of the world around me. For me, the city and its surroundings are a playground for inspiration. I can wander into the cities oldest corridors and find fascinating graffiti and shadowed murals. I can wander down to the pier in the evening, and find myself alone watching a serene sunset over the Olympic Mountains, lining the horizon to the west. Or I can gaze towards Mt. Rainier in its morning glow as I bike to work. I can stroll the countless city’s farmers markets, camera in hand, and capture life in action, wander into a quiet jazz club and use my Leica glass to freeze the talented musician in front of me who’s creating a different kind of art….Maybe I am lucky, but if I am guessing right, many of you have enchanting places to capture that are within your reach. The trick is to find the inspiration around you. Here are a few tips that I have found helpful in honing your photographic craft close to home

Mist over the Ballard Bridge

Parade Procession

Roller Derby Girls…

Guitar Man


 

The Photo Stroll

For me, finding the inspiration begins with the “photo stroll”. Basically, I make it a point to get out of my house or work place regularly to photograph the world around me. My gaze is always looking for the next photograph, and walking about the places in which I work, live, and play is a great way to renew and reinvigorate one’s spirit. In my time in Seattle, I have made it a point to get around town, discover new haunts, hidden alleyways, and locations, which I may not have previously explored. I keep a running tally of places that I have seen and others that I hope to get to one day. I call it my “Seattle Bucket-List”, a set of places, which I hope to capture via my camera as time permits. My photo strolls have included day trips with friends, meet-ups with fellow photographers with whom I wish to share thoughts on gear, stories, and inspiration, and solitary strolls through the city in search of a poignant moment. For some of you out there, you have achieved a similar goal through photo-a-day projects. For me, its more-or-less a once a week thing, where I make sure to get out, regardless of weather conditions, to use my M9 around town. Regardless of how you do it, getting out of the home, stretching your legs, and bringing your camera along will surely be enough motivation to take a few happy snaps, and who knows, inspiration may be close to follow…

Cherry Blossoms and Children – University of Washington

Injury, 70,000 watching- UW Football Game, Fall, 2010

Ferry Ride at Sunset

Discovery Park Military Road

 

Get Involved with Friends & Make Photo Friends

Over the past 6 years during which photography has become an increasingly passionate hobby of mine, I have gotten to know many people in the community, including some of you who keep up with this site regularly. For those of you out there whom I have met through Steve’s site, thank you for your friendship and communication! I often find photography to be most enjoyable when it’s a share experience. I have had the good fortunate to meet and make many close friends who are as enthusiastic about photography as am I. It’s been a great joy to go on walks, camera in hand, and learn about a photo partner through their stories and through the images that they make. Oftentimes, how your friends and fellow photographers see the world can serve as inspiration to your own photography. For example, a good friend of mine, Brandon, is able to see patterns in the world in a way that I often miss, whereas I tend to see the world more organically, with less pattern. Yet, during our strolls, were are often in the same place, shooting similar subjects, and the differences that we bring to our own creativity can serve to challenge and inspire each of us as we move about the city. It’s exciting to get out there with friends, share in these moments, make and take photos, come home and share them with each other. Photography, like so many other hobbies, can be ever more exciting, even more inspirational, when you can share it with your photo buddies and your friends.

Even when I don’t always have friends to photograph, all of my friends now know me to be someone who nearly always has a camera with him, and someone who can get “cool” shots of their families or themselves. My friends have become willing participants in my own photography, and I have been able to document intimate moments in their own lives (i.e. weddings, babies, childhood memories, fun hangs at the clubs) in a creative fashion, and this has enriched both my lives and theirs. It’sgreat to have such a group of willing participants for my own photography, and I have to give a shout out to my friends for being so wonderful in allowing me to have them be my inspiration. With time, patience and practice, you can find your own friends, your own community, and be able to enrich their lives and yours through your photos.

Peter Schmeeckle on Drums, Egan’s Ballard Jam House, Seattle, WA

Space Needle and Ferris Wheel

Breakdancin’ at the Water’s Edge

 

Get to know your camera.

We all have different camera gear. Different cameras, different lenses, different bags, different flashes, different tripods, diffent wrist & neck straps, yada yada. Yet, a common ethos among Huffites is a love of photography. Sure, many of you readers own Leica gear, while others now NEX systems, GXR systems, or m4/3 set-ups. My camera of choice, as you all know, is the Leica M9, and before it, the Leica M8. I find the digital rangefinder to be a near perfect match for my photographic vision. The M9 is a discrete tool, compact and unobtrusive, yet capable of capturing the highest quality image. Because it is so unobtrusive and compact, I nearly always have my M9 with me. In this way, should inspiration strike, my camera isn’t far away. Despite my love of the M9, I’d propose the camera doesn’t really matter, and the best camera is the one that you bring with you. For some of you, that may be the iPhone. For others, it may be a GXR or NEX camera. For me, it’s the M9, and it’s a constant companion. Over the past 3 years, I have gained an intimate knowledge of the workings of my camera. I know how my lenses behave on my M9. I know how it meters. I even have a sense of how the aperture clicks respond, how long or stiff the focus throw seems, and balanced each of my lenses behaves when mounted on my camera. I know where to find most-used settings on the buried menus of the camera’s LCD. I guess what I am saying is: I know this camera. If you don’t know your camera intimately, aspects of its use can serve as a barrier to inspiration and creativity. For me, the Leica M9 has become nearly invisible. It’s the tool that I put in front of my eyes, and it sees the world as I hope to see the world…through some expensive glass, nonetheless, but in a way that inspires me to bring the camera along for the ride day-in and day-out.

Regardless of your system, the more you invest in understanding its eccentricities, the more you will come to understand whether or not it is the right tool for you, and if so, how to coax the most out of the camera for your own satisfaction. Bottom line: get to know your camera….

Lighthouse Point, Discovery Park

ICU TV, Fremont, Seattle

Big Four Mountain, Cascades Mountain Range, WA

Maintain a manageable kit

Okay, admit it. Most of us readers have GAS bad…and by GAS, I am talking about “Gear Acquistion Syndrome”…So here I am, guilty as sin for owning a bunch of camera gear, preaching to you to keep your kit manageable. So what the heck does that mean? Well, for each of us, that means something different.

Many of us are limited by budget. We can only own so much costly year. We have bills to pay, loved ones for whom to care, and other important costs to account for. But nearly all of us lust for the next great lens, camera, or such eccentricity. Yet, I firmly believe that it is impossible for the gear that we own to make us any better as photographers. In contrast, it seems that the less gear that one owns, the more focused she or he can become in honing his or her craft. Instead of being busy fumbling for lenses, try to bring only 1 or 2 lenses with you on your next photo outing. This will force you to focus on making photos with the gear, rather than focusing on the gear itself. When I travel, I typically bring 3-4 lenses with me, to cover all of the photographic circumstances that I may come accross when far away from home. In contrast, when shooting at home, I often limit myself to a one-lens kit (often a 50 mm lens) or a 2 lens kit (35/50, 50/90, or 35/90), so that I can focus on seeing the world through one perspective. By limiting lens options, I have learned that I can really get to know my kit better. This way, when I travel, I am well versed in my kit, from all the practice that I have gotten at home in using this kit.

Some of you may find that you only need 2-3 lenses for your photography. Others may find that you can comfortably limit yourself, on any given day, to a smaller kit and get the most out of each of your lenses and/or cameras.

 

Explore the world around you

One of the benefits that I found myself as a resident in my town was that I came to the town as a adult, seeing it in many ways as does a tourist. So heck why not be a tourist in your own town?!? Find places that you have have otherwise ignored. Move about these places without assumptions. You will be rewarded by new perspectives on your home town. If there’s one thing I can tell you, explore your home town….even places close to home can be just as inspirational as places far away, as long as you are willing to see them…

 

A Night out on the Town, Lucid Jazz Club, Seattle

The Burke-Gilman Path at Fall Time

A Tender Moment atop the Space Needle

 

Practice makes perfect (or closer to perfection, at least…)

Practice…Practice…Practice….that is the key, my friends. What better place to practice than your own hometown, your own back yard, or among your closest friends and associates. I am always practicing, and I am always trying to hone my craft. I have begun to see the world as a series of photographs waiting to be taken. With a camera in hand, and with experience borne of such practice, you and I will be better prepared to capture that winning shot. Good luck to you all in this. I’ll conclude with a bit of cheesy advise that I heard or read somewhere, which seems an appropriate conclusion to this little article: There’s magic in every moment, inspiration at every turn, and many treasures in everyday life. It’s all out there, waiting for you.

Now stop reading this blog, grab your camera, and take some photos. Your hometown beckons…

Best,

Ashwin

P.S. To those of you who wish to visit Seattle or may be coming here shortly for Steve’s next photo work shop , the images here were all taken in and around Seattle. I hope this whets the palette for anyone of you who will be visiting my hometown soon…

 

Graveyard of local heros


 

Skatekids takin’ a break to take it all in…

 

Fourth of July….Liberty Head


City at Night- Kerry Park

Sun Sets Over the Puget Sound


Totem

Graffiti Wall Kids


College Life Among the Blossoms

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99 Comments

  1. Simply outstanding shots. And by all means, please do quite your day job, should you ever feel inclined to do so!

  2. Ashwin: What a fabulous article, you really nailed it! Too many of us fall into the “familiarity breeds contempt” trap regarding our home turf. The trick is to find that different “angle” (either literally or spiritually) that gets us into the specialness of what we might see every day. And speaking of photo walks with friends, we gotta do that one of these days!
    –Peter

    • Yessir, we do. I had emailed with Matt Driscoll and posted on GetDPI about you, myself, Matt, and Dan (Seayaker) to do just this. I am quite open after May 8th, and we need to go out and photograph. We have talked about it long enough. Let’s make a plan!

  3. Hey Ashwin,
    I really enjoyed this article, and it made me want to photograph my home town of Los Angeles, which I never do. You’ve inspired me, and I thank you.
    I remember you used to have the 16-18-21 WATE, and then you sold it. You mentioned that you like the wider apertures. Do you ever miss this lens? I bought one, and it’s my favorite of the five Leica lenses I own.

    • Hi Joe,
      I very much enjoyed my time with the WATE, and I do miss it, and at times consider getting another. I have moved to the cheaper Zeis 18, as I don’t shoot that wide very often but have the 18 mm focal length if needed. ..the WATE is one of a kind, though, and I may have it back in my bag one day, as $ permits….it’s supremely pricey now…

  4. Excellent pictures Ashwin! It’s inspiring to see these. I have a question concerning the “Guitar man” one: was it taken with a Pentax K-5 (I cheated, I know, I’ve seen that one before on your flickr account, by the way, all the serie is excellent), in which case I would like to know with what lens?

    Thx for sharing.

    • Thanbks, Paco! Guitar Man, you are right, was taken with the k5…I was using the 77 FA lens, I believe, for that capture! It’s my favorite lens for the K5, combining size and high performance, with a signature look!

  5. Thanks Ashwin.All of the images on the e-Lee1 site were taken within that 7 mile radius.I have health issues that do not allow me to get to far from home so I have to work within those boundaries.You deal with what life hands you and I love photography plus my wife and that works good enough for a cranky old fart like me.By the way I enjoy your site and have a link in to it.

    • Great to hear that you are not slowed down by the hand that was dealt. It’s inspiring to me to use my relative good health and get out as much as possible!

  6. Very nice work Ashwin.Haven’t been to Seattle since the World’s Fair.I agree about doing your own town as I’ve never got any farther away than about 7 miles from where I live for the last 10 years in this town of about 30,000 people.There’s always something to photograph if you’re willing to look. Great article.

    • Wow, C.J. That’s a long time ago 😉

      Seriously though, what a challenge to find something fresh in a place of 30,000, but I’d love to see some of your iamges from your home as well!

  7. Practicin’ what I preach. Photostroll from this evening….
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/K5 City 2-9.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/K5 City 2-8.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/K5 City 2-7.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/K5 City 2-6.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/K5 City 2-5.jpg[/img]

    • Ashwin, here’s a couple from yesterday… The Mating was shot a while back right on my balcony.

      Red
      [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/_1020161.jpg[/img]
      Sharing
      [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/_4192373.jpg[/img]
      Here’s one for fun – Mating
      [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/_DSC0013.jpg[/img]

      • Great images, Kelvin. What a cool way to share. Maybe this thread can be turned into an inspirational images set, where we can share each others images. WHo knows?!? Regardless, lovely images!

        • Thanks Ashwin, I think that will be a brilliant idea based on your articles topic… Why don’t you have a chat with Steve and see how he feels about it? Would be great to see other Steve’s fans post home town photos as well… A Huge Inspirational Idea 🙂

          Cheers,
          Kelvin

          • Kelvin, welcome to the Close to Home Flickr group! Nice to see you there. Ashwin, feel free to direct other folks to the group to post their own hometown photos, if you’d like. The more the merrier!

            Stuart

          • Thanks Stuart, glad to be there… Hopefully i get a chance to play with my M8 Summarit 90mm + Elmarit 28mm sometime today, haven’t done that in a while, will post some photos… :-).

            Cheers,
            Kelvin

        • Ashwin,
          All photos taken in Wash DC Dupont Circle – M8.2 w/Summarit 75mm

          Man in a Hat
          [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Man_In_Hat.jpg[/img]
          Kids Play
          [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Kids_Play.jpg[/img]
          Shirtless
          [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/shirtless.jpg[/img]
          Street Chess
          [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Street_Chess.jpg[/img]

          See more ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/ki0001/ )

          Cheers
          Kelvin

  8. “Many of us are limited by budget. We can only own so much costly year. We have bills to pay, loved ones for whom to care, and other important costs to account for.”

    Hi Ashwin, I certainly agree with you on this. Due to limited budget, I own a M3 body for a year before saving enough to buy a collapsible Summicron. (Imagine the agony!)

    Photography is indeed a hobby I love but to me, “investment” in my family comes first.

    Like you, I am also compiling a list for my photo strolls. So armed with one 50 & some film, off I will go to capture the sights of old & new Singapore. Hopefully I can hone my skills well enough to pass down wonderful shots to my children 🙂

  9. Ashwin, very thoughtful words and excellent images to go along with them. I often think I should have photographically explored my current home town (Sacramento CA) more often. But luckily, Seattle will soon be my new home town! I’m much more interested in exploring Seattle than Sacto. I hope we can do some shooting together. A shot from my most recent trip to Seattle:
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/seattleskyline.jpg[/img]
    Keep up your great work.

    • Great to hear from you, Bob, and even better that you are moving from Sacto to the SEA! I am excited for you. Will you have around this summer for Steve’s workshop in later July? Regardless, you’ll find that Seattle has a large and vibrant RF community, and we have a lot of fun wandering around town! Your first stop should be Glazers Camera in Seattle, which is the best camera store in the northwest, bar none. Kenmore Camera is also solid.

      I look forward to meeting you.

      • Thanks for the reply Ashwin. I have a business meeting in San Francisco that concludes the day before the workshop starts. I might be able to make it all happen, but with all that is going on with our move (and both my college age kids moving) I just have too much on the plate. I’ll miss this workshop, but should be able to meet up with your group later on. Speaking of which, is the RF community organized at all? Like a http://www.meetup.com group or something? Thanks for the recommendation on Glazer’s, great camera stores are the best. Bob.

  10. Ashwin, great article! Very nice photos, too. I especially like these: Discovery Park Military Road, Mist over the Ballard Bridge, Lighthouse Point, Discovery Park, and, last but not least, Peter Schmeeckle on Drums! I love the concentration on Peter’s face. Great, intense portrait!

    The Lighthouse picture looks a bit over sharpened to me but I guess, you wanted to show certain texture. Great picture, anyway. As you can see I am more inclined to pictorialist, impressionistic style. Those kind of pictures just grab you and leave a very strong trace in your mind for a long time after you see them. Of course, the style itself is nothing but it can help a good artist to express his view in a powerful way.

    Cheers,
    Greg

    • Thanks, Greg. I am not sure what my processing for the lighthouse pic was, but I am certain that I pushed the processing, so quite possible that the effect that you see is due to my processing. I will take another look and reprocess it soon…thanks for the feedback.

      • Ashwin, don’t get me wrong. I like the image very much. It looks a bit over sharpened to me but that could actually be an advantage if you wanted to show some texture, like it was printed on a hand-made paper.

        Greg

  11. Hey Ashwin, your photo and article is EXCELLENT. I love all your photos!

    As always, an open invitation anytime you can make it to Hong Kong. You just have to let me know when 🙂

    Norman

    • Ashwin,

      Thanks for posting these great images. I’ve recently bought a M8 and am enjoying learning how to use it. Hopefully I’ll be able to post my own ‘daily inspiration’ from Down Under soon.

      Cheers
      Rob

  12. Great article Ashwin… Exactly what i have been doing for the last few weeks weather permitting. The weather here in Wash DC was fantastic yesterday, took a walk to the farmers market with my EP2 and Konica 100 2.8 Lens, had my GF1 with pancake in the bag as well although it didn’t get as much use ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/ki0001/sets/72157626395983519/ )

    Couple of weekends before that same set up Cherry Blossom Event ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/ki0001/sets/72157626343479375/ )

    One of my goals this year is to do what you are talking about here, rediscover my hometown in a big way… I am making it a point to get out at least once a week to explore. Thanks so much for the article, came at the right time! Great shots…

    • Hi Kelvin,
      Thank you. Funny how the spring weather also can be inspirational….Cool set up, with the EP2 and Konica along with GF1/Pancake….awesome! Nice photos as well. I hope that you are able to accomplish your goal of rediscovery.

  13. Great article, I fully agree. I also have my camera with me all the time (iPhone 4 or NEX-5 or the 7D) and almost do a photo stroll every day.
    Beautiful photos you have selected.

  14. Hii Ashwin

    Thank you for your great article, it really inspire me…
    The thing is i am new to RF and often let my self busy which lens should i use rather than focusing on my shots …well i really need to get intimate with my gear and limit my self to 2 kit lens …
    by the way i love your shot in Lucid Jazz Club !!!

    Thank you Ashwin

    • Hi Girindra,

      Thank you for your kind words….Using the RF as a new tool can be inspiration in and of itself….it take a bit of time to adjust, but once you have it, it’s magical..

      Best,
      Ashwin

  15. Great post Ashwin! I live in Savannah, GA and also make it a point to go out several times a week. I too have areas that I know of that I haven’t visited yet but will do so when the time allows. Although I have been to several areas within the city many times I always come away with something different. I couldn’t agree more with this article. Great examples included.

    • Ryan, great to see you here. Your images of Savannah are great (I know these from GetDPI, where we both share our images, and I have loved your contributions of the area in which you live and of your beautiful family and child.

      Seems that you have it made, and great way to find inspiration in such a beautiful place!

  16. Ashwin,

    Thanks for the article…your contributions are always so helpful and informative…and your images so inspiring. By the way after asking your advice, I did go ahead and order the Luigi natural aged brown half case for my M9. I ordered it from his web-site and had it in a week and a half. The transaction was very seamless. The case is not cheap but highly recommend it. Fits like a glove, as you said, and is quite beautiful. Are you going to follow-up your article about equipment with one about what you do with your equipment (camera, lens, etc) when you are traveling? Thanks again.

    • George, congrats on the Luigi case. I know how excited you were to get that case, and I am glad that it came through seemlessly. Glad that Luigi’s site worked well for you.

      I will be writing more equipment articles soon, but if you take a look at my India article, I describe a bit of what you ask.

      Congrats, George, and great to hear from you!

  17. Well done photography knows no boarders. Out of two I like best, Ballard bridge is of very londonesque pictorialism and Millitary road very french-provansalsque heritage. Instructive enough, both leave an impression of being taken by any kind of camera with moderate telelens. Thumbs-up for you Ashwin

    • Thanks, Stanise! Some of the shots were taken using tele lenses, others with shorter lenses. I am a sucker for wider apertures, I admit, and my photography reflects this 😉

  18. Hey Ashwin, nice photos of the Discovery Park. I swear I wouldn’t know where you took those photos at if I didn’t look at your descriptions.

    I totally agree on photographing your hometown. I’ve become more comfortable shooting in the city in the last few months. However, compared to places like New York, Seattle is still missing something…

    • Thanks, Kay. I am glad that you have grown comfortable Seattle, but I disagree that it is any less interesting than other places such as NYC. I find that Seattle is just as rich as New York…just different….street photography is less robust, but nature is far more spectacular out here….plus it’s easy to be inspired by the novel and less inspired by what’s around us each and every day…which is why it’s good to keep the eyes open.

      • Landscape wise, Seattle does have a lot to offer. In a way, limited options make you try harder to improve your vision. I think it’s a good idea to maximize the potential of your home town before venturing into other places.

        • Sounds like great advise. hone one’s skills at home, use said skills on the road. Certainly, one should learn to use their camera prior to leaving home with it 😉

  19. Great post Ashwin – thanks. Some of your messages made me think of a quote from Brooks Jensen (Editor of Lenswork magazine) that I constantly remind myself of – “Maybe the great lesson that is presented to us everyday is that there will never be time for photography but there is always time for life. When we find a way to make photography fit our life we’ll have time for photography. Perhaps we’d best learn this before our time for life runs out!”. There are photographs there everyday, on our doorstep – what’s important is that we keep our eyes and our mind open to the possibilities and your photos & text are an excellent reminder of that. Thanks once again.

    • Steve, thanks! The Brooks Jensen quote is very apropriate, I agree. We must all take a moment to enjoy the activities and people that we love, otherwise time will simply pass us by unforgivingly.

      I have definitely learned to keep my eyes open rather than to stare blankly into the ground lost in my thoughts…it’s a better way to see the world 😉

      Thanks for your comment!

      • Too easy Ashwin – Guitar Man! Then on the other hand, you’d already shared that photo w/ me before at Getdpi! 🙂

        Last couple of times I went out, I carried the K5 and GH2. I’m such a geek. LOL!

  20. Wow love the Mountain range photo!

    As for the article, I can’t agree more! The majority of us can’t travel due to work commitments or budget restraints, and even when we do I find we aren’t always able to carry most of our gear with us. I been doing a lot of shoots just within 15-20 minutes driving distance. Once again love all the photos, its an art to find so many interesting subjects in one place!

    • Thanks, Jason. The shot was taken at Big Four Mountain along the Cascades Mountain Loop Highway….Beautiful, magestic, and scenic place….and 1.5 hours from my doorstep by car…thanks again for your kind words.

  21. Great atticle, great vision accompanied by great photos. Definitely inspiring for beginners like me.

  22. Ashwin, you don’t stop. You continue producing inspiring photos. I always enjoy looking at your images, thank you for sharing them with us.

  23. I so agree with you. We often miss what is great where we live because we are so busy with the day to day that we stop seeing. I carry a camera under my coat and maybe a lens in my pocket almost always, sometimes it gets used sometimes not. But you are ready when that moment happens.

  24. Hi Ashwin,
    Great inspirational article –I love to visit Seattle–Will be there the weekend of July 9th…Would love to invite you to go shooting with me while I’m there for the weekend…Live in Dallas and would love to have you as my guest next time you are ever in town…Love your pictures !!!!
    Thanks for all you do with providing super articles !!!
    Dave Berry

    • David, I will be here on July 9th week-end, possibly alongside another visiting photogrpher. We should definitely get together while you are here….Please email me through my blog, and we can get in touch!

      • Hi Ashwin
        I have sent you a post on your blog don’t know if you received it..Check out your blog of April 3….I can’t find any other way of contacting you..Hope to hear from you soon.
        Thanks
        Dave Berry

  25. Wonderful photos of Seattle! I have not been there since 1990; it is a good place to visit.

    On a more somber note, your essay made me realize how much the Draconian rules of my employer affect my photography. A recent rule regarding social media has really over-reached, making it an offense for me to share images depicting most of the area’s public property and much local infrastructure. Alternatively, I reckon I could create an alter ego, to make my images anonymous, at the cost of having to juggle the truth and fiction, a skill with which I am unfamiliar.

    • Hi Rex,
      Sounds like you are due for a new visit. The work siutation that you describe is difficult. I have even heard of a UK based Leica photog who was arrested for taking photos in public…seems a bit strange, but our growing awareness and media accessibility make this a harsh reality that some of us may need to address.

  26. Super article! Well written, many good tips and of course, above all, very very nice images to complement it.

    It’s very important that people realise they do not need to travel the world for that winning picture. There’s absolutely no reason why “the one” is not round the corner.

  27. Such a great set of images Ashwin, really wish I could make it to Seattle to meet you and photograph your home town but I’ll have to miss out this time. Funnily enough I went for a walk with my camera round my local neighbourhood today to make the most of unseasonably warm April here in the England. As you said inspiration can be right around the corner.

    • Wish you could have been here, Darrell, but next time….glad to hear that England has been a bit warm. Seattle is starting to come around, albeit slowly!

  28. Beautiful photos Ashwin, as always!!! You’re such a veritile photographer or should I say artist 🙂

  29. I love this article! I was recently contimplating what was the best way to re-discover my home town. For me, it has to be on foot. I’ve tried to drive around until something strikes me, but it never seems to work. Not to mention irritating drivers behind me dealing with my slow down-speed up-swirve a little-slow down again, etc. As you suggested I think the best way is to pick a place, walk around and let the photos find you. Thanks for sharing this article, beautiful images and great commentary.

    • Great point, Beau. I agree that being on foot is definitely the way that I have discovered the city. Sometimes, I’ll drive to a neighboorhood, but it’s with my feet that I find the photos that I have enjoyed the best. Thanks for your kind words!

  30. This is an inspiration to do more of something I’ve been doing a bit of in Pittsburgh over the years. Thanks for yet another terrific post!

    • J, right on…there’s so much to see in Pittsburgh. I am originally from Cleveland, but Pittsburgh has done a far better job with defining its identify for the 21st century than my old hometown. Thanks for the kind words!

  31. Hi Ashwin,
    Another inspiring post. Thanks.
    One of my favorite quotes:
    A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
    -George Moore

    Another opportunity to make ‘photography friends’ in our own hometowns would be to join the local photography societies. Almost every town has one. If not, maybe its an opportunity to start one yourself!! You can then organize your own photography tours.

    Cheers

    • Mohan, great quote, and thanks….sometimes the most treasured is close to home. I find this truly the case when photographing friends and family! Agreed, meet ups are a great way to be inspired among others!

  32. Hi Ashwin. This article had a lot of useful info for me. Thank you!

    Usually I go out and shoot alone but I should definitely try finding some other photographers to shoot with at a meetup or something.

    • Jeff, glad to hear that the article is useful. Yes, meet ups are a great way to meet like minded photographers and new friends in the photo world!

  33. Ashwin, you make me want to go out and take some shots straight away, you have a fantastic collection of images.

  34. Although I love to travel and make images in far-away places, it’s always such fun to go out with a friend in our own city and shoot cards full of pictures in our own neck of the woods. Inspirational post as usual, thnx!

    • Completely agreed, aadb. Yes, finding a friend or two to go photograph with often is inspiration in itself to photograph. This is often how I find joy….and have even made many friends just walking around and coming upon another photographer!

  35. Thats what I started doing Ashwin taking shots of my locale.

    I was looking at all these shots by people in exotic places and get bummed I wasnt living in the UK or US anymore, then I’d post up a nature shot shot of our Canadian wilderness and the people on flickr were as excited seeing that as I was looking at theirshots of Vienna or Hong Kong . I guess a little bit of the ” grass is greener” syndrome 🙂

    great article and shots btw

    Robert

    • Robert,
      Great to ee you here! It’s funny how places far away from home can seem exotic to all of us. I agree that it’s great to share, and the grass is always greener, especially here in Seattle, where it’s always raining ;)….well almost…haha

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