I've been photographing along (and sometimes in) the same stretch of creek for almost 30 years. Never tire of it and never fail to notice a new feeling of light. I have even re-photographed a similar scene when I have changed format (4x5 to 5x7 to 8x10...and when I borrowed an 11x14).

I also return to Yosemite on a semi-regular basis to photograph over the last 20+ years.

So I guess I am a fan of getting to know a place on a personal level in order to photograph it in a way it deserves. But given the opportunity, I do like to explore new places...but my percentage of "keepers" is lower with new places than with the familar.

I spent 3 months hitch-hiking around New Zealand with a 4x5 that had a bad light leak in the back...didn't get much that trip. It took me 5 years to save enough money to return (new 4x5, new bicycle) for a 6-month bike tour. Even though I got almost no usable negs from the previous trip, the experience of creating those images (and printing them in my head as I waited for the next ride) helped me increadibly to take the images on my 6-month adventure.

The knowledge of the light and land from the 3-month trip (and living there as a college student for a year...pre-photography), allowed me a connection to the light and land of New Zealand.

It doesn't always work, though. I have been on several 11 day backpack trips down into the Grand Canyon with my 4x5, and worked there one summer. I still have not gotten many substantial images of the Canyon -- ones that really talk to me about the place and the light there. Part of the problem is that I am not personally into the "grand" landscape -- the sweeping vistas. Perhaps that is the problem...a canyon of that scale might be best expressed that way, and my attempts for a more intimate interpretation of the inner Canyon just don't work.

Vaughn