No Place Like Home

“The Tree God” Canon EOS 5D MarkIII, Canon 24-105 f4 @ 24mm, 1/40 second @ f20, ISO 320

Spending time photographing old haunts after a significant absence is a lot like catching up with an old friend. No introductions, formalities, or small talk are needed. You just pick right up where you last left off.

I’ve been spending some time in the South Carolina Lowcountry getting reacquainted with some old photographic “friends” like this one. It’s so easy to make a connection with the camera and lens, especially when the emotional connection has already been made years ago. The connection doesn’t feel forced or contrived, it just feels right.

I’ve always contended that photographers do better work with subjects and places with which they are intimately familiar. When I travel to a new location, it usually takes me days before I can do anything meaningful with the camera. The introductions and small talk I mentioned earlier are necessary in order to take the relationship to the next level. It usually involves finding your way around, scouting possible compositions, and just getting yourself oriented but it’s still deeper than that. Making an emotional connection to a place takes lots of nurturing and time – and time is often something we don’t have a lot of.

So after traveling the world photographing so many exotic locales over the past few years, I’m back home. The image making is comfortable, effortless, and deeply satisfying. The small talk has been logged years ago and the affair has been rekindled with nothing more than a suggestive glance.

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Posted in Essays, Images | Tagged , ,


  1. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:06 am by Inés | Permalink

    One of the most powerful photos I have ever seen. It is full of emotion….sad, melancholy feelings ‘pour out ‘from it. Beutiful

  2. Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:47 am by Jeanie | Permalink

    Wonderfully said Richard, Love your old tree! Love the blog

  3. Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:16 am by Theresa | Permalink

    I agree! The images I take in familiar places are always far more interesting and creative than photos I take in new places. I think part of it is getting to really know a place and explore all the angles, and part of it is being able to visit frequently so that you’re sure to capture your subject in its best light or most interesting conditions.

    Love your image! I visited the Angel Tree when we vacationed in Charleston a couple of years ago. I had seen photos of it beforehand but I still wasn’t prepared for the sheer size of it. What an amazing tree! And of course, your photo is much better than any of the ones I took. I was so stunned by the tree I almost forgot to take any photos at all!

  4. Posted February 26, 2013 at 5:43 am by Janet Hilton | Permalink

    I know this place, and this tree! Lovely shot!

  5. Posted February 26, 2013 at 7:34 am by KatVitulano | Permalink

    Agree – Whenever I visit a new place I always find my best images were the very first few, or the very last few. All the others taken during the bulk of my time, totally over-thinking the angle, light, composition, etc, usually had less impact.

  6. Posted February 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm by Dannie | Permalink


  7. Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:04 am by Stephen Saint-Onge | Permalink

    Your images are stunning. Nothing like the magic of Mother Nature as your creative canvas!

    Keep up your beautiful work!

    Nothing like being on the road with the camera.

    All the best.

  8. Posted March 22, 2013 at 11:50 am by Regina Shinall | Permalink

    I love photos of “Angel Oak” and I have to say this is by far my favorite. The composition is exquisite and I love the addition of the sunburst. Gorgeous photo of a remarkable tree. I love your ebooks and photography!

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