Earlier today, I was chatting with a fellow Portland denizen who, like me, was called in to perform his civic duty as a juror. When he asked what I did, I replied simply that I am a photographer. He asked if I could show him some of my photos, so I let him flip through an album of my work on my iPad. After a few minutes, he made a simple observation about how I clearly love photographing the verdancy of Oregon. His words were said in a way that I should feel proud.

Now, while this was a pretty straightforward observation, the thought incubated in my head and I kept thinking more about it as the day went on. Ultimately, it culminated into this photo tip. It’s easy to fall into a mindset where you discourage yourself about photographing too much of this or that. Maybe it’s because you think you’re homogenizing your work or you’re worried about being pigeonholed in some way. It’s something that I’ve thought about for a long time and, for a while, I let it seriously affect me.

However, there was something in the matter-of-fact way that my fellow juror shared his observation that I found illuminating and comforting. Going to the same creek over and over can seem stifling to some, but to me, it’s always a new adventure. Nature presents itself with so many variables that the only real constant is change. It’s not so much about mastering a particular place or environment. It’s simply acknowledging and reveling in knowing when you’re in your element and I have now have a renewed appreciation for being in mine.