The Secret To Finding Beautiful Things In Not So Beautiful Places

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
— Elliott Erwitt

The final product of a 4 shot HDR (straight out of camera pictures below) shot on a trail in my little suburban town. 

I loved the texture of this fence that's been in the backyard of the house I've lived in for the past 18 years.

While some of us get to wake up to beautiful sights like San Francisco, New York, Miami, Paris, Rome, Ireland, The Rocky Mountains, Zion National Park, or another of the many beautiful sights around the world, the harsh reality is that not everyone is so lucky. Millions of people, such as myself, wake up to the same old suburbs, trailer parks, and harsh terrain that isn't always so camera friendly, or is it? 

One of the most interesting changes that's happened to me over my photography career is how different I see things in the world. The even cooler part? My eye is not like anyone else's in the world. You could put any photographer in the exact same situation and they would all come back with a truly unique picture. This has been proven time and time again by companies such as Canon. If you wanted to conduct your own experiment, you could go to Flickr and search by location, and you would see thousands of unique pictures by many photographers. By developing this photographic "eye", you can get some truly unique visions of the world. You begin to see the details in things, and all of the beauty in the details. You'll be able to take a walk down a little street anywhere and walk out with amazing photographs.

Photographers also tend to obsess over the details, such as the photographer in Canon's Obsession Experiment. While obsessing over the one strand of hair flying away in the wind, the way the light falls on a person's face in their selfie, or even the slightly wrong angle of the tilt of the head becomes the curse of this obsession for details, the perk of this obsession is all of the amazing details you see and appreciate that most people won't. You could be walking down a street and become fascinated with a pole that every one else is walking right by, completely oblivious to the amazing detail in the texture, the perfectly pleasing curves, or the artistically strategic decisions made by the craftsman. You'll become obsessed over this amazing piece of metal sticking up in the street for several minutes in person, and possibly even forever if you decide to print your artistic photographs of this beautiful pole, while everyone else walks right on by!

The great thing about this "photographer's eye" is that anyone can develop one with practice! It's as simple as picking up that camera you got for Christmas, opening the camera app on your phone, or even just going out for a walk with no camera. Force yourself to slow down and look at the details of everyday objects, from the leaf on that plant, to the freckles on that special someones face, and I promise you the earth and the people on it will become more beautiful then you could have imagined.