Finding Beauty Close to Home

by | Oct 20, 2023 | Perspective, Stories & Expeditions, Tips & Tricks | 0 comments

I was looking at a professional landscape photographer’s blog the other day. His photos were taken from all over the world. As I flipped from page to page, that discontented feeling of “Oh, I wish I could go to those places!” started to steal over me.

But few of us get to travel to epic places regularly. Of course, we will always take advantage of those once-every-5-year family vacations! But, for the majority of us, we have to learn how to find the beauty that is close to home.

As I look over the hard proof copy of the 2024 Lenspiration calendar that came in today, something surprised me. Almost half of the 12 main photos were taken in non-bucket-list locations. Places I stumbled upon while driving by, or happened happened to see because I decided to take the scenic route instead of the Interstate. Places the epic-destination landscape photographers may not ever know exist!


Take the January photo, for instance. It’s taken on a trail in the woods at my parents house. April and August were both taken on the same day during a rare time when I didn’t have anything on my schedule. Honeymoon’s are like that. Smile Granted, we were in a corner of the White Mountains, but we didn’t set out that morning trying to find epic, calendar-worthy photos. October and November are photos from when I just pulled over on the road here in West Virginia.

So it got me thinking. If an increasing amount of photos in my calendar are ones that are “taken close to home”, then what am I photographing close to home right now, for next years’ calendars? If I wait for those once-in-a-lifetime trips to take all my calendar photos, then I’d be a pretty bored guy most the year!

So, what beauty am I finding close to home? Let’s take a look at some random photos from the past couple of weeks. It’s the time of year for fall colors around here, so I’ve been trying to keep my camera close by as I go about my normal life.

231007_James Staddon_9062 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-50 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 200

It wouldn’t make the cut into a calendar, but this was a pretty lake at the location where I did a family photoshoot two weekends ago. I liked how the clouds radiate out like they do in the reflection.

231016_James Staddon_9169 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 35 mm, 1-6 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 50

Instead of staying at a hotel for the wedding we attended last weekend, I discovered there was a State Park about 10min from the venue. Even though it was cold, we decided to camp there instead. The short, 45min hike we were able to do together was enough time to take at least one nice shot!

231016_James Staddon_9187 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 93 mm, 1-8 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

And on the way home, here’s another barn photo from the side of the highway. Smile

231018_James Staddon_9226 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 200 mm, 1-160 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

And then we went apple picking on Wednesday!

When I start to feel discontent, I can instead direct my attention to God, give Him thanks “what state I am currently in”, and start looking for the beauty close to home! Who knows when a random photo I take will actually end up in a calendar one day!

Speaking of calendars, you probably don’t know about two incredible discounts that are currently running simultaneously on them.  They stack. You can get both deals with just one order!

The first sale is:

Buy one or more boxes of Lenspiration 2024 calendars, and you can get forever access to any one Lenspiration photography course of your choice for free! This deal ends November 1. After placing your calendar order, you’ll get an email that will tell you how to get your free course.

Calendar   course

The second deal is this:

For each box of Lenspiration calendars you buy, get one free month of Lenspiration membership! One box, one free month. Two boxes, two free months, and so on. This is the deal that ends tomorrow night! To get this one, sign into your membership account and find the coupon code at

Members free month v2

Both of these deals work for either type of calendar. One or more box of 10 Original calendars, or 25 Personalized calendars. Either one.

If you are running a fundraiser, or want to sell them on consignment, let me know. I may be able to negotiate on the price or help you find answers in special situations. Hoping they can be a blessing to many!

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