My overall goal with my photography is to keep finding new (even if it’s just to me) locations, compositions and inspiration. However, I often find myself revisiting locations. When you return to a location, it is not very likely you are going to see yourself taking the exact same image. Unless that is what you are after of course.
One of the main reasons I revisit a location is because of the different conditions that may arise. These conditions may be different because of weather, wildfires, seasons, sun position throughout the day or even star positions throughout the night and year. Here’s an example of weather-induced condition changes and night sky differences from Abraham Lake.
Both trips were last minute decisions to try to catch a clear sky window. On March 13th, 2018 I shot a panorama using some of the patterns in the ice to balance the arc of the Milky Way. The ice on the lake was mostly clear of snow. This year’s shot from March 14th shows that snow almost wholly covers the lake. The other difference is the position of Jupiter. It looks like the Dark Horse has consumed the planet in the 2019 images.
Another reason I might revisit a site is because I just didn’t have enough time to get everything I wanted. Whether you are shooting a sunrise or at night, your time to create with specific light or positions of stars is limited. You have to work fast, or come back another time.
For Milky Way images and compositions, different times of year can give other options for compositions. In the spring the galaxy is around the SE position in the sky, and in the fall it is around the SW position. I have a post on how the Milky Way appears through (almost) all 12 months of the year. For some foreground options, the change in position may not work. A mountain may obscure the core for example. Other areas may work all year round.
The first time I visited Emerald Lake was in August of 2016. I had some amazing one of a kind conditions that night. A substantial amount of mist engulfed Emerald Lake Lodge and the lights piercing through it were spectacular. The mist was kind enough to stay low to the ground, and not obstruct my view of the Milky Way. I returned in May of 2017 while a G3 geomagnetic storm was happening. The aurora was so intense it was pulsing in the southern hemisphere, something we do not get to see that often around our latitude of 51 degrees N.
Vermillion lakes is an extremely popular spot for sunrise photography in Banff. So many people have photographed this location so many times. And yet I still enjoy trying to see what I can come up with or what the skies will yield on a particular morning or night.
Here a few things you can think about when you are considering revisiting locations:
- Do you have new compositions in mind?
- Do you have new equipment to try out?
- Have you learned any new photography techniques that you could use at a location you’ve already been to?
- Is there a friend that you would introduce the location to? Their fresh eyes and enthusiasm can spark the same in you.
- Do you want to get different weather/light conditions?
- Will different seasons give you something new?
If you want to know even more about night photography and get some practice with in the field guidance, my Dinosaur at Night Photography Workshop is for you! This four day workshop focuses on night photography and includes accommodations, meals prepared by a Red Seal Chef, two tours guided by parks staff (one to a massive fossil bone bed), and classroom instruction and in the field guidance.