When I was a staff photographer at a daily NJ newspaper, I could measure the passing of the year if I was photographing a Black Friday story, an Easter festival or some other annually-occurring event. I’d pick up the assignment sheet and think, “Didn’t I just photograph this? Has it really been a year?”
Last year, friends invited me to a trolley tour of local holiday lights and I was glad to join them. It made for a nice picture story for my Roy Stryker photo project: Brewhop Christmas Light Tour in Longmont by Kenneth Wajda (CO).
I used a Nikon DSLR with a fast f1.8 wide 28mm lens and it was a fine picture story.
So, when they invited me along again this year my first thought was, “Well, I don’t want to just repeat what I photographed last year.” And it could have been as the houses we stopped at were exactly the same ones we visited last year.
Instead of taking the wide angle, I packed the Leica M9 and a vintage 50mm f1.5 Summarit. It’s softer than a Summicron or Summilux, which is what I was after.
I made a point of not making the full house photos but concentrating on the faces of the friends I was with enjoying the light and color.
Different day but with the same subject, I chose a longer lens and a fresh approach. I was quite satisfied with the results. Not a lot of photographs, just a few that matter.
When the subject becomes redundant, we don’t have to be. A longer lens or a different approach, it’s what makes the difference. And it shows.