Not too long ago I took one of my project 365 images at, what I consider my photography dojo. I use Sinatra Park in Hoboken NJ, for training, practice, and to refinement of my photography techniques. Sinatra Park has been my favorite place to work on my photography skills. It fits all my needs for training and is a great place for photography meditation. Do you have a Photography Dojo?
What makes an area a Photography Dojo?
First, your photography dojo should be safe environment. You do not want to walk into an area worrying about if you are going to be robbed. A good location for a photography Dojo must give you the ability to practice as many forms of photography as you want, at your leisure. I am of the opinion that you should be able to shoot landscape, practice street photography, and shoot architecture, if it suits you. If you want to take candid group shots and or portraits at the location, you should be able to, with, or without lighting gear. At Sinatra Park, I have all of this as well as the Hudson River and New York City as a backdrop. Over the course of a year, it provides all weather conditions I need to shoot in too.
Respect Your Dojo
If you like an area, keep it clean. Do not leave trash. Do not be rude and do not be in the way. Open your eyes take your time and learn the space. Opportunities for photography will always arise this way.
Friends and fellow students of Photography
The great thing about photography dojos is you can train alone or with friends. It is completely up to you. I find training with others is more fulfilling. You can share ideas and if you shoot with different gear, everyone can try out new things and learn.
You want to have as many types of lighting situations as you can. Buildings, trees, shade, direct sunlight, etc. Having the ability to know how a different type of light affects your photography is a great resource. Since you are training, you want try out as many things as possible, experience can be a great teacher.
Photography Dojos should be easy to get to . This way you can spend less time traveling and more time training and shooting. Most parks near main streets or in cities provide great places for this. Most local public parks make great sites for photography Dojos. The places I consider my photography dojos are all accessible by car and/or mass transpiration. Ease of access enables me to carry what I need when I need it.
What gear is suitable for the location?
All portable gear is suitable for your photography dojos. You just have to bee willing to carry things like portable backdrops or portable lighting with batteries, light stands, and/or tripods. The best idea is to keep things simple. When I am at my dojo, I plan and consider what gear I would like to train with for that session. The minimum gear I carry consist of my Cambot(My Nikon D90) and my SB600 Flash. I also whatever lenses I want to work with and the lenses I like to keep with me specifically my Nikon 50mm 1.8 or 35mm 1.8 and my Sigma 70-300mm 4-5.6. Lately I have been working with my Sigma 18-50 2.8-4.5 the most though. I will also test all my review gear at my photography dojo. This gives me similar points of reference for comparison shots.
In the end
A photography dojo is a place to work on your photography pure and simple. You do not always have to show off what your images. Just improve your photography skills and have fun.