Never be afraid to take the same photograph again…

As a photographer I’m constantly seeking out new views and subject matters. However, with Edinburgh being my main focus over time it can be difficult to find something new. What this led me to discover is that doing the same shot over and over again isn’t a bad thing. Familiarity with the subject and trying something a little different can often produce a vastly improved or very different shot.

This is the scene I’ll use to demonstrate, the classic Edinburgh Calton Hill shot, taken from the side of the Observatory building with the Dugald Stewart Monument on the left and Edinburgh Castle and the Balmoral Clock behind. THE iconic Edinburgh view.

This is a fairly typical shot, sunny day, nice blue sky. Just the Nikon D90 fitted with the Nikon 18-70mm lens, CPL and ND Soft Grads used.

Classic Edinburgh under blue sky

However, try the scene again at sunset…

This first example is the same shot done at sunset in February (the sun only sets in this scene from later October to March). This one has had quite a lot of PP work done and is a 3 shot HDR image.

Classic Edinburgh - Explored & FP

Another sunset, this time at the end of August, the sun is setting out the frame but the HDR processing has brought out the sunset colours in the sky.

Calton Hill Sunset 31 August 2010 - Explored

Finally another sunset, this time in October and not given any HDR treatment, this is down to the use of ND soft grads.

Calton Hill Sunset 11 October 2010 - Explored

So, 3 shots, all from exactly the same spot but a very different result from each.

How about at night?

Classic Edinburgh at Night

Weather can also play a big part. As soon as the snow hit Edinburgh in 2010 it was time to try the shot yet again, but with added snow!

Again, same scene but a very different shot yet again.

Calton in the Snow

So we’ve seen how the processing of the shot, times and weather can all produce different results, how about using a different lens?

Obviously for this particular scene using a big zoom would be pointless as you’d lose the foreground interest of the monument but this shot was taken with a Lensbaby 3G, a selective focus lens at around 55mm, too much to get the whole monument in but we can still get enough of it so you know it’s the same shot.

From Calton with a Lensbaby

Or how about even a very different camera, this was taken with a cheap Holga on 120 format B&W film.

Calton Hill Holga

So there you go, same scene, 8 times but 8 very different shots and I wont hesitate to take this one again if I think I can get something different again.

I’ll leave you with one other example, this was a shot I took just after Christmas 2009 on the Cammo Estate in Edinburgh with a fair bit of snow on the ground, initially I loved the shot, the HDR just worked perfectly but the fencepost on the right fouled the tree behind it and it bugged me every since I spotted it.

The way in... - Explored
However, with the snow on the ground again before Christmas 2010 I got a chance to redo the shot, which now I’m very happy with.

The Way In - revisited

Never be afraid to revisit places you’ve been and take the same shot, at the end of the day if you get enjoyment out of it take the same shot every day. There’s always something different even if the same scene if you look for it!

124 responses

  1. wow, i wish i got passion like yours! Thanks for the demonstration, I enjoyed this post a lot!

    December 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    • cris73

      You are right

      December 29, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    • These photographs can serve as a great metaphor for life. Approaching a single problme from many different angles and perspectives in order to extract the most from that experience.
      May 21, 2011

      December 30, 2010 at 2:42 am

  2. Super cool! I’d love to frame all of these shots and put them side by side in a hallway. I think passersby would spend hours pointing out the differences and similarities!

    Great advice — thank you! 🙂

    December 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

  3. Pingback: Never be afraid to take the same photograph again… (via Photosofedinburgh’s Blog) | Gealachs Blogg

  4. nice shots! loved it 😀

    December 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm

  5. Pingback: Never be afraid to take the same photograph again…

  6. I thoroughly agree!

    A woman asked me after Mass why I take photos of the altar week after week when it’s always the same.

    “But it’s not. The lighting both within the church and through the stained-glass windows at different times of the day, the altar colors, the flowers, and so much more changes each time depending on the season and the weather,” I smilingly replied.

    Marla tilted her head. “I’d never thought about it that way.”

    Your post is the perfect response to why the photos on our church blog are never the same… even though the subject remains a constant.

    Thank you! I’ll certainly pass this along to Marla.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

  7. Fantastic series. Amazing how perspectives change so frequently and how memory tends to forget to document each series of observations.

    Oh, silly memory.


    December 29, 2010 at 4:49 pm

  8. Amazing pictures!

    December 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm

  9. I like the HDR stuff and then I don’t like it. Seems like everyone and his brother is using HDR these days on every scenic imaginable. It’s nice and all, but it’s too easy sometimes. Set a camera up on a tripod, use the bracketing setting, crunch it up in the computer, fiddle with a couple of sliders and violá: Instant Thomas Kinkade from a photograph.

    Sometimes a nicely planned out and composed photo with the correct exposure settings makes for a much-less-generic photograph that has uniqueness and appeal. For example, the shot with the Holga has “that extra something.”

    Nice blog! Nice work! Keep it up. Best wishes,

    –The Photo Ape

    December 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  10. Beautiful pictures! I love the way the sun is hitting the trees in your first Cammo shot.

    December 29, 2010 at 5:51 pm

  11. I loved this! I like to take pictures all the time but I was running into the problem recently of having photographed just about everything on my college campus! This was a wonderful post! Thanks a bunch for the tips! 🙂

    December 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm

  12. These pics look amazing! What a great job! And great photography lesson! Thank you!

    December 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm

  13. Wow, what lovely photos, thanks for sharing!

    December 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm

  14. I love photography. Unfortunately i do not own a camera. This post is wonderful.

    December 29, 2010 at 6:44 pm

  15. beautiful shots. it’s like debussy; the lighting and time of day can really alter how an image looks.

    December 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm

  16. My favourite is the August sunset photo. They are all beautiful, of course, but there is something about the sky that draws me to it. Great work!

    ❤ Milieu

    December 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm

  17. I love this post as I have always wondered about whether I should take day and night shots of the same thing. I love your first shot and the one taken after the snow….my favourites. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed 🙂 So glad I checked in and got to see this! 🙂

    December 29, 2010 at 7:02 pm

  18. Thanks for the inspiration. I took a walk today and captured some sits close to home in a way I never saw them before. Your tips and photos resonated with me.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:15 pm

  19. Awesome shots, I recently took some of Edinburgh you can take a look if you like. I love the October shot, those colours are so vivid.

    Also well done on the wordpress front page link, very deserved.

    December 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm

  20. These shots are nothing less than exquisite. You have taught me a valuable lesson. Usually, if I want a different look from an image, I do all the work in PS. Mainly, because I have worked in PS for the last 7 yrs. “fixing” other people’s images and have become use to working this way. But, for my own work, I realize the real challenge is to do this with my camera. I am always looking for something “new” or “different” to shoot and have been thinking a lot about this lately. You have just inspired me to find new ways to look at “old” things! Thank you for sharing your talent!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:26 pm

  21. Absolutely lovely pictures and you made an excellent point… i can’t wait to re-do some of my shots!

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:34 pm

  22. I love those pictures!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm

  23. Modern Funk

    Love the contrasts and subtleties. Great job!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm

  24. giyounghwang

    This is great!! My recent post is also of two panoramic shots of the same view in new york city… but completely different circumstances. Check it out!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm

  25. that is so coool!!

    i just want to go out and take a bunch of pics as the sun sets now!

    thanks for a great post :):)

    check out my blog!



    December 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm

  26. Ernest Duncan

    Absolutely loved the photos of Edinburgh over time. Spectacular!!!

    I started with a Nikon F a long, long time ago and have never achieved anything like any of your photos. You are an inspiration!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:57 pm

  27. Beautiful shots.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm

  28. I guess light is everything. WOnderful shots you have taken at different times of the year and day .. wonderful photos!!

    December 29, 2010 at 8:06 pm

  29. Great inspiration to us all when we feel that there is nothing new. The world keeps changing, nature keeps changing, every day there is something new to capture, whether it be with a camera or just our eyes. Thanks for the stunning photos and for reminding us that there is so much beauty out there if we only take the time. Hope you have a glorious new year.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:37 pm

  30. very good! beautiful photos. time passes and nothing stays the same.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:37 pm

  31. Okay, if this is a travel agency, please sign me up for wherever those shots were taken! Gorgeous! I am so excited to learn more about my new camera, which I received as a Christmas present. If you know of any good informational photography websites, it would be most appreciated!

    Kudos on FP!

    December 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

  32. I’m no photographer but I know what I like. Great contrasting shots.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:46 pm

  33. I like the one that is a little crooked! =)
    I read somewhere that even professional photographers take dozen of shots of the same thing, and I have never forgotten. I love that photographs can help us to see what we cannot see, because it happens too quickly or too far away.

    December 29, 2010 at 9:03 pm

  34. This is such a unique topic! Great advice! You make a great point that I haven’t heard before..congrats on being FP on WordPress 🙂

    December 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm

  35. i think you should honestly submit this series in some sort of contest…honestly breathtaking.

    December 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm

  36. bagnidilucca

    Great photos – thank you. I love taking shots of our little village of Bagni di Lucca from the same spot indifferent seasons. It always looks gorgeous.

    December 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm

  37. J-Rob

    Good point, and nice shots!

    December 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

  38. R.A. Stewart

    Having had the great pleasure of visiting Scotland last January, I don’t see how one could get tired of looking at Edinburgh.

    Excellent photographs.

    December 29, 2010 at 9:54 pm

  39. mrgrosky

    Very nice lesson–worthy of a space in Popular Photography or similar magazine!

    December 29, 2010 at 9:55 pm

  40. How beautiful.

    December 29, 2010 at 10:04 pm

  41. Antonht

    great photos!

    December 29, 2010 at 10:04 pm

  42. This is really beautiful! Thanks for sharing

    December 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm

  43. That second Edinburgh shot is sweet…my favorite. You know, I’ve actually never done this (taking the same shot at different times/days/months, etc.). Gonna have to do it.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. When one of my posts was featured, it was indeed awesome to reach so many more viewers (thousands!). Nice work!


    December 29, 2010 at 11:05 pm

  44. your photographs are absolutely amazing!

    December 29, 2010 at 11:10 pm

  45. I like traveling and photography. I always take pictures of the places that I visit so that people who read my blog will have a nice impression about those places.
    Your post has given me new tips on how to take better travel pictures.
    Thanks for sharing!

    December 29, 2010 at 11:27 pm

  46. Hey, great pictures and like the blog a lot, will have to check it out more regularily! thanks H

    December 30, 2010 at 12:09 am

  47. Wow! I’m a total newbie with a camera and you inspire me. It is, for sure, a great subject – and so amazing that it can look so different.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed – enjoy the ride! (I had one a couple weeks ago and it was surreal to say the least).


    December 30, 2010 at 12:25 am

  48. Lovely concept.
    I am not much of a photographer, but feel that the same idea can apply to reading a book several times. It gives you different perspectives each time – also depending on your mood and stage in life….

    December 30, 2010 at 12:31 am

  49. Wow, gorgeous, all of them!

    December 30, 2010 at 12:33 am

  50. This was really eye-opening. Thank you! Sometimes I dismiss the thought of taking pictures of certain things because I already took pictures of them…Great demo!

    December 30, 2010 at 12:33 am

  51. Those are such gorgeous photos – I just love the comparisons between each photo. The second and fourth are my favorites – each is just perfection!

    December 30, 2010 at 12:36 am

  52. Beautiful! As someone who is a beginner, I am truly loving this post and how you explained it. Thank you. 🙂

    December 30, 2010 at 12:47 am

  53. Interesting, thanks for this!

    December 30, 2010 at 1:44 am

  54. lifeanddramaofhandm

    These look so amazing! i wish i knew how to take pictures like that.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:05 am

  55. Most of the times i visit a blog I notice that most blogs are amateurish. Regarding your blog,I could honestly say that you writting is decent and your website solid.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:26 am

  56. great

    December 30, 2010 at 2:40 am

  57. Whenever I go out to shoot some photos I try to avoid reproducing something I had taken previously. After reading this post, however, I will definitely make sure to revisit a few locations. Thanks for the post!

    December 30, 2010 at 3:49 am

  58. Seafoam


    December 30, 2010 at 4:55 am

  59. Stunning. You have a great eye and talent.

    December 30, 2010 at 5:00 am

  60. sarahsei

    Wonderful pictures. I wish I have a camera too. 😦

    December 30, 2010 at 5:13 am

  61. Congratulations on being featured on Freshly Pressed!

    I’ve been to Edinburgh a few times and your images are stunning.

    Like you, sometimes I have to keep looking for fresh impressions so that I don’t feel bored with the same environment. There are a couple of parks that I try to get to in every season. Your idea of going at different times of the day, using various filters and lenses, and changing perspectives is very helpful to your readers.

    Awesome images!

    For those who are just starting out in photography, I have a few posts on my blog called “Photography Quick Tips” that may help them get started at

    December 30, 2010 at 5:34 am

  62. Tom Reeder

    How fortunate that someone at the Cammo Estate didn’t repair that fence on the left –the grounds are exactly as they were the previous year.

    Your sunset shots are spectacular; the interior lights in the middle ground draw the eye right to the center. Congratulations on fine work.

    December 30, 2010 at 5:45 am

  63. You’re absolutely right. Your pictures are so breathtaking and outstanding!

    December 30, 2010 at 5:47 am

  64. nice photography. getting extra out of what everyone has is a creativity worth appreciations.

    December 30, 2010 at 5:55 am

  65. Nice fotos!

    December 30, 2010 at 5:57 am

  66. I have the exact same obsession. Revisiting places never hurt anyone! Nice work with the photos. 😀

    December 30, 2010 at 7:02 am

  67. very beautiful!!

    December 30, 2010 at 7:52 am

  68. wow very very cool. loved each photo in its own way. really appreciate each one differently. what kind of camera did you use?

    December 30, 2010 at 7:55 am

  69. With little knowledge on camera and photography I aware that the colors of universe do much role in shaping a snap….But your effort makes me realize that thought how true it is!

    Congrats on FP!

    Happy New year!

    December 30, 2010 at 8:34 am

  70. Simply brilliant piece of photography by you… hats off…. Wish you a happy new year!!

    December 30, 2010 at 10:09 am

  71. Hi, all shots were with a Nikon D90?

    December 30, 2010 at 10:09 am

  72. Kayl Ryck

    The second picture of Edinburgh is absolutely amazing. Awesome work! Each photo is exactly the same yet incredibly unique, nice concept.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

  73. I love your photos. Thanks for the tip. Will try that too.

    Have a blessed & fruitful New Year!

    December 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm

  74. ovitrif

    great Idea

    December 30, 2010 at 12:58 pm

  75. It’s awesome how things change, it’s good to take the same photograph again, who knows maybe it’s changed since the last time you took it.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:04 pm

  76. You’ve opened my eyes to taking pictures. Each one has a different outlook and I’m simply awed. Beautiful, simply beautiful. Also congrats to being Freshly Pressed!

    December 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm

  77. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    Photos are awesome! One of the bits on my bucket list is to do some photography. Quite excited to start from my own balcony….now just need an awesome camera. At the moment i have one that fits into my handbag, and just automates everything. Haha. And my blackberry!!


    December 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm

  78. Sunflowerdiva

    Wow, that’s amazing! Those pictures are amazing–the lighting changes things so dramatically! Congrats on the Freshly Pressed! And Happy New Year!

    December 30, 2010 at 9:52 pm

  79. marlandphotos

    I enjoyed this entry very much!

    December 31, 2010 at 3:40 am

  80. Janet Tiong


    December 31, 2010 at 6:53 am

  81. Pingback: What the #FF?!?: My First Follow Friday « Miracle on 32nd Street

  82. gret advice i will follow with your encouragement!

    December 31, 2010 at 4:56 pm

  83. Barney Rubble Trouble

    Awesome, very nice!

    December 31, 2010 at 6:11 pm

  84. So very true!

    Weather is such a deciding factor in how an image will look and can make some fantastic alterations in what would essentially be “the same image”

    Wonderfully demonstrated 🙂 Lovely images!

    January 1, 2011 at 6:09 am

  85. you are so right!!

    there is a vast difference in each picture..

    each one of it is beautiful and unique 😀

    loved the post!!

    January 1, 2011 at 7:12 am

  86. I agree with taking the same subject on photos. It actually transcends different image depending on the color of light and its effect on the subject. Cool photos! Really great.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:31 am

  87. Very interesting point of view, you are right, each photo (of the same place) looks so different as if it’s about different places!! Amazing!

    January 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

  88. Nice shots.. Nice demonstration. Thanks….

    January 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm

  89. Gorgeous!

    January 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm

  90. very entersan

    January 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm

  91. Great shots!!

    January 2, 2011 at 12:57 am

  92. enjoyed every single detail of your post. =)thanks for the idea. we’ll try to revisit places we’ve been any time sooner. =)

    January 2, 2011 at 3:00 am

  93. Felicidades Amigo !

    January 2, 2011 at 5:21 am

  94. I love the August and October sunset ones. What is HDR though?
    What does is stand for and what does it mean?
    Beautiful photos!!

    January 2, 2011 at 6:34 am

  95. Harshika

    again i love it 🙂 came back to see this post 🙂

    January 2, 2011 at 10:23 am

  96. kulas88

    nice post… 🙂
    i learned something new from your pictures. thanks so much.

    January 2, 2011 at 6:40 pm

  97. Great shots.

    January 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm

  98. Wonderful! Simply Wonderful!

    January 2, 2011 at 11:37 pm

  99. Pingback: Never be afraid to take the same photograph again… (via Photosofedinburgh’s Blog) « Bitter-Sweet Capricorn :">

  100. Most amazing eye opening post , every picture shows a different aspect of the place 😉 grt job !

    January 3, 2011 at 7:28 am

  101. on what sort of camera are you taking these photos?

    January 3, 2011 at 7:57 am

  102. first of all, those are great shots. The holga photo is especially good and fun to look at.

    this is some very helpful advice and something I’m going to take into account next time I’m out shooting. I don’t get much time to take photos and when I do I often end up in the same places because I don’t put enough effort into finding new areas to document.


    January 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

  103. gemmaquarta

    You just gave me a greater insight on photography. Amazing photos!

    January 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm

  104. Pingback: Never be afraid to take the same photograph again… (via Photosofedinburgh’s Blog) « Pd64's Blog

  105. Thanks for the post. I experience guilt when I photograph the same image over and over. No more! Thanks!

    January 4, 2011 at 12:58 am

  106. Amazing! I especially love the second image.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:39 am

  107. Wow, these photographs are great! I agree with you very much, it’s ok to take the same photo again.

    January 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm

  108. These shots look amazing and I love the different variations. Nice

    January 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

  109. Pingback: Digressing to Edinburgh « A hearty breakfast leads to..

  110. This is indeed very interesting! I never thought about using the same subject and trying different things with it.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:22 am

  111. some really interesting points you have written.

    January 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm

  112. i like it

    January 7, 2011 at 6:04 am

  113. Great article. Waiting for more.

    January 9, 2011 at 10:01 pm

  114. Concise and well written, thanks much for the post

    January 10, 2011 at 3:03 am

  115. There is apparently a lot to know about this. I suppose you made various good points in features also.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:35 am

  116. Absolutely fabulous photos!

    Roo Roo! Stuart

    January 11, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  117. Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thanks However I’m experiencing subject with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting similar rss drawback? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

    January 13, 2011 at 10:49 am

  118. Pingback: The Barn Day by Day « A Convergence of Vision

  119. gvipromote

    There is apparently a lot to know about this. I suppose you made various good points in features also.

    February 3, 2011 at 6:25 am

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