It is never as good as the day before.
If you have a good day when the light is perfect and the moments come together and you feel good and strong, do not go back to the same place the next day. It will never be as good as it was. This is a hard lesson. When you take a good photo or two that you are proud of, you will think that you have figured it out. That maybe you have cracked the code. You have not. This is not some secret spot. You just got lucky like we all do. So, stop. Go the other direction. Shoot with a different focal length. Go somewhere new.
I went back to the same corner where I had made two pictures of reasonable quality the day before. The light was bad and dark and the streets were empty. I struggled to make photographs out of nothing – people piddling about the corners – eventually I became frustrated.
Walking down back streets toward Flushing, taking pictures of barbwire and trees (so help me!), I arrived at the Bushwick Houses. It was late afternoon, these are rough projects, I am wary. Two men were working on a door. They had taped off the pathway. The zigzags of the caution tape, the horizontal lines of the fence, and the security cameras caught my eye. I took a few bad photos, (of the kind that won ISPA this year) and circled the block. When I returned the same two men were working. An argument was taking place across the street. I noticed the kid in front of the building with his grandmother watching the shit-show go down. I was hesitant. I did not want any trouble. I prefocused on the men in the background. Walked over, framed the shot, and took two.