the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Working on Photographer Memory

Sea BarnI remember five years ago this month (it seems like just last year, how time flies when you get old), when my friend and fellow photographer, Bob Miller visited the Tacoma area. We got together one afternoon and drove out to the Key Peninsula, a rural area west of Gig Harbor, to see what we could find.

The Key Peninsula doesn’t offer any world-class view. But there are a couple of state parks: Penrose Point and Joemma Beach. Both are nice enough places, and some good photography can be had at either. Both have pleasant beaches. Penrose is on the east side of the peninsula and has a view of Mount Rainier. Joemma is on the west side, and the view is toward the Olympics. But Bob wanted to just roam, and not go anyplace special, so (at least as I remember it) we didn’t go to the state parks.

We ended up visiting a cemetery, an abandoned house, the site of a historic bed and breakfast, and several other stops just along the road. It was fun, just being out, driving around without any plans in particular other than shooting a few photos.

I don’t think I brought anything too exciting home from the trip, though I rather like the featured image above of an old building in the community of Home. Instead, the trip helped my “photographer memory” – that is, it helped me exercise my photographic skills, helping those skills become more automatic (sort of like muscle memory for sports). I know we all want to bring home that award-winning shot every time we go out shooting, but in reality, that doesn’t happen very often. Rather, it’s times like I had five years ago with Bob that have made my response with the camera more automatic. With less thinking about settings and composition, I am better prepared for that award-winning shot when it does present itself.

So, you may ask, why am I discussing this while showing photos from five years ago? That’s because I haven’t been practicing my photographer memory since the first weekend of the month. I haven’t been out, and it’s starting to bother me. It’s often said “use it or lose it,” and I suppose that is true about photography as well. Thinking back on that short trip five years ago is a good reminder to myself that there are plenty of nearby places where I can practice my photographic craft without making a special trip somewhere. In other words, I just need to get out there and do it!

Luckily, I do have a special trip coming up this Friday – though not specifically a photography trip. I’m heading off to southeast Alaska to go salmon fishing for four days. Hopefully I’ll be able to practice some photographer memory in between reeling in a few fish.

Old Stove

Post Box

Ford and Flag

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9 responses

  1. Pingback: Working on Photographer Memory | City To Country Magazine

  2. That is a great reminder that we need to exercise our photographic muscle memory Joe. We can go over things in our mind and learn new software, but the physical dedication of shooting (something at least) regularly can’t be over stated. The Washington State fair is in full swing and I managed to get some practice in there this evening. I “nerped” a bit too (never, ever, repeat patterns) and shot with the lovely 70-200 f4 zoom all evening, and even remembered to do some multiple exposures with a few of the dramatic fairground sights.

    September 24, 2015 at 12:11 am

    • Sounds like a great place to work on it. I haven’t been in many years and maybe should get over there.

      September 24, 2015 at 8:58 am

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:
    いい記事です。

    September 24, 2015 at 1:37 am

  4. Neatly done, Joe!

    September 24, 2015 at 5:06 am

  5. Tom Guffey

    Well done…!!

    September 24, 2015 at 8:08 am

  6. Love the pictures, thanks for sharing.

    September 24, 2015 at 8:31 am

  7. amazing photography!! Hope I’m as good photographer as you are one day!

    September 29, 2015 at 9:46 pm

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