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Exploration… at home or on the road?

Shooting locally versus shooting while traveling are two vastly different experiences.  Both offer strong merits on their own, but does one have an influence on the other?

I do a fair amount of travelling for the purpose of photography.  These trips are always filled with an air of excitement.  The buzz of exploring somewhere new, sometime with old friends and other times with friends yet to be known.  Everyone is brought together in the hopes of coming away with amazing shots, new experiences and new friendships.

The real influence of the trip is felt most heavily when I return home.  The excitement to shoot isn’t as strong as it was while I was on the road.  The desire isn’t always there.  This is in part due to the fact that I’ve shot so much of what’s around locally.  Couple this with the ever pressing fact that there’s life going on at home.  There’s work, family, friends, etc.  It becomes harder to set aside the time to go shoot.  When you’re on the road, the shots are the purpose.  They’re the reason you’re getting up early or getting home late.

There are ways that can keep local shooting engaging.  Circle of Honor member, James Falletti has become somewhat of a guide for local photographers and birders sharing his knowledge with members of the community.  In doing this, the ethics part of wildlife shooting and watching are passed down.  These good behaviors will hopefully pass down from generation to generation hopefully improving the behaviors of those who come after us.

Some shooters are forced to travel.  Buffalo Bill say that they have “very limited wildlife” being that he lives on an island.  This leads to trips, big and small.  Shooting locally doesn’t present much of an option.

Ivaylo Zafirov began in the mid 2000’s as a local shooter.  During this time, he spent time learning to shoot wildlife.  Learning the behaviors of the wildlife and how to better capture his images.  He found shooting locally to be a little bit lonely, and progressed to traveling for shooting.

On the other side, you have Herman.  Herman uses shooting locally as a way to learn more about where he lives.  He finds that there’s much that he doesn’t know about his local area, and shooting helps him learn.  In fact, when he travels he has no true interest in shooting.

Traveling to shoot runs a range of emotions for me when I do it.  It’s the excitement of getting ready.  The nervousness of double and triple checking everything.  Thinking through all the shots to make sure you have the right gear.  One of my biggest fears in traveling for shooting is that I’ll get somewhere and miss a shot because I chose to leave a piece of gear at home.  I tend to overpack for that reason.

When I travel, I tend to shoot with a guide.  If I’m going through the expense and effort of getting somewhere, I want the best chance of getting the shots I want.  Even with being experienced as a shooter, a guide is invaluable. They’re familiar with the spots, the behavior and they usually have a network that keeps them updated in real time of what’s going on.  Fortunately, some of these guides I’ve used have become friends and it’s lead to even more opportunities to shoot.  Sometimes it’s a trip to check out a new spot for viability or sometimes it’s just a smaller, exclusive opportunity.  The friendships along the way are among the best benefits to traveling.

When you return, it feels like it’s “back to the same shooting as always.” It’s typically things I’ve already shot back home.  That’s when the reality sets in.  I find that I won’t shoot much after a trip.  I just put the camera down until the urge strikes again.

Thankfully, the urge does always come back!  Happy shooting, happy travels.  Or both.

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