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When photographing popular or famous spots it is sometimes difficult to capture a shot that has not been seen thousands of times before. Typically someone will devote hours of time researching a trip and spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to go on the trip. When you get home you look at your photos and think "this is nice...but I've seen this image before".
When traveling to places like Paris, New York City or a National Park you are going to be drawn to popular spots. Of course you are going to photograph the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, and Old Faithful. The trick is to find a way to see the image a little differently.
Try to move around to different locations. Don't just walk up to the viewing platform and snap a few pictures and move on to a new destination. Take some time and slow down. Get in the groove or zone. Take some time to explore and get fresh new angles of a subject.
If photographing the Eiffel Tower walk around and look for something interesting in the foreground. You may stumble upon a street sign that adds to your composition. You could narrow your depth of field and focus on the sign creating a blurred Eiffel Tower. This may create an image new to the viewer.
For example, on a recent trip to some National Parks in the western United States I visited some famous spots to photograph. Of course I got the iconic shots of Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Springs, and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone, yet I was always trying to find a new way to see the subject.
The image I will focus on is a barn in Grand Teton National Park. This barn is very famous because it is a beautiful shot. The barn has a classic shape, is made of weathered wood, has a corral in front and sits in front of a gorgeous view of the Teton Range. The image is popular because it is compositionally perfect. Trying to get a different view of the barn I slowed down and took some time at the spot. I walked around looking for interesting foreground objects like wildflowers. Upon spending some time exploring the area I found a nice composition by moving back away from the barn and using the dirt road as a leading line ending at a lone tree. This little extra time and effort can create a fresh and new image that stands out from all the rest.
So next time your are photographing a popular spot, slow down, get in the groove and smell the roses.
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