No doubt about it most outdoor photographers love to travel to new and exciting locations to capture the subjects we love. But truth of the matter is that most of us can’t be jetting all over the globe whenever we want. Most outdoor photographers I know are able to take one two or maybe three major trips a year. Sadly, I also know many photographers that only use there cameras when they are on one of these major trips.
But I would argue that those same photographers are missing one of the greatest locations available to them… there own backyard. Most of us live within a short drive of a local park or piece of undeveloped land where we could practice our craft. There are many benefits to working an area near your home. One of the greatest benefits is simply being out there working, it is impossible to make great pictures if you are not in the field working. Another important benefit of working close to home is the ability to go out on a moment’s notice, say when the lighting is really nice, or during unique weather conditions. Also you can get to know a smaller piece of land and its inhabitants more intimately. You can make sure you are there when the cardinals nest in that bush, or you photograph that patch of wildflowers when they are at their peak.
Consider developing the area to suit your needs, get permission to but up some feeders and birdhouses to attract birds to the area. Often times you can obtain permission from a developer to rescue wildflowers from an area that is going to be developed into another subdivision or strip mall. Take these rescued flowers and transplant them onto suitable habitat where you will be able to shoot them. Sure this is a long term prospect, but you will find these small steps payoff over the long haul with huge photographic dividends.
We all need to look at our own backyards with fresh eyes, the eyes of a traveler. Remember your backyard is very often someone else’s hot travel destination try to look at things with the eyes of a visitor, you will often be surprised by what you see.