Familiarity breeds success

Several years ago Dan McCormick and Eric Lindbloom, both great photographers, challenged me to think about a body of work and develop a body of work  I was all over the place, shooting all different subjects when I could. It was tough to come up with a subject or theme. I looked at my archive, and found that I had several images from Locust Grove, the Samuel F.B. Morse Estate on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie. I was drawn to the trails, the fall colors, and the light. Little did I know it would evolve into a major project. I kept going back. I returned in different seasons, seeing the same locations in different weather or light. When the light was poor, I looked for details or patterns. I studied how the water flowed and when through various creeks and brooks. I watched as the light came up on the trails, and found out when I needed to be where to get the best light. After a couple of years I thought I had a project. I saw a call for entries a year before, but knew my project was not anywhere close. In 2010 I submitted ten images to Locust Grove, and hoped to get a solo show. I remember the letter I got and how excited I was for the opportunity. I was selected for November to January, 2012 to 2013. It was over a year away.

They asked that those selected to continue to work on new work. I kept going out. Suffered a winter of no snow. But I kept going out. Even when I thought I had shot it all, I went back. Got an incredible day of deep fog on the trails. Came away with many successful images. A new camera (a D800) gave me more resolution. I led a WorldWide Photowalk for Scott Kelby there in October 2012. I had already started to print and frame images for the show. But came back with new images. I went back that week as I wasn't sure I really got what I saw. I came away with a great panoramic. Six of the images hanging in the show were taken from October, 2012 on. Some of my favorites are in that work.

Familiarity of a location gets you to the places you know. Maybe it is the feeling that you haven't quite done your best. Maybe it is the ability to see how it has come out before, and to take a new view on the same theme. Maybe it is just hard work, practice and results.

The lesson for me was to be disciplined to get a body of work. It made me go back and back again. I found so much more on the property. Thirty five images hang in the show. I checked Lightroom, which doesn't have all of the images I shot at Locust Grove, but a quick search shows over 7,500 images from there. I know from others that the total images to final images is in line with what is needed to get a good result. Yes, you may be able to do it with fewer, but I think the show benefits from the years of work.

The show is up until January 2013. Please take a look and tell me what you think. I know I cannot thank those who have helped me get to this point enough.

I would love to hear your thoughts or questions.