Four years ago, my Loved One gave me a camera for Christmas, a Canon S2. While technically this was still a point-and-shoot camera, it far surpassed anything I'd had before to take snapshots (something I almost never did, in any case). Because my first response to almost anything is "get a book on it," I ordered Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure and began to devour it.
I leapt right in and began trying the things he was suggesting. One that caught my attention was to take a picture of the same thing every day for a year, in different seasons, different times of day, different light, and so on. Since I had a huge commute that took me up and down the coast highway every working day, I looked for something I could use for that project, and there really was only one choice: the Pigeon Point Lighthouse.
I began the project right away. Every time I drove by the lighthouse, at least 8 times a week, I photographed it. I tried every conceivable vantage point, stopped in every kind of weather, was there at dawn, sunset, and almost every time in between, at some point.
[Linkup to Texture Thursday]
Bryan Peterson says that if you do this exercise, by the end of a year, ". . . you'll have amassed a knowledge and insight about light that few professional photographers -- and even fewer amateurs -- possess." I learned many, many things about photography from taking pictures of the lighthouse -- exposure, perspective, composition, framing, when you can hand-hold and when you need a tripod, and the certainty that the biggest wave will break spectacularly the second after you've given up and turned the camera off.
I know that many people join a "365" group, in which they pledge to take a picture a day (at least) for a year, and I know you can learn a lot from that, too. But if you have a fixed landmark or vista or something you can take pictures of over and over again, you should give it a try. It's extremely educational.
If you'd like to look at my Pigeon Point set on flickr, you can see it here. Happy shooting, everyone -- it's almost the weekend!