And so, that's our challenge — your challenge — as a photographer. Don't be the magician who can't see the magic of his own show. As a photographer we need to
- see the spectacle,
- see the story, and
But how do we see with fresh eyes when we visit the same places on a regular basis?
Rotate your haunts. Divide your personal photography territory up and focus within a couple of blocks every so often. Focus on an area for a week then switch it up to another few blocks the next. That's for your Monday through Fridays. If you can, on the weekends, go farther out to explore. Keep your eyes fresh by keeping your surroundings fresh.
Flip the day. Visit your spots at different times of the day. Go at night or go during the day — whichever you're not used to. You'd be surprised at the differences in lighting and character that comes out.
Hobble yourself. Restrictions will bring out your creativity. Head out with one lens you don't favor. Turn off burst mode. Give yourself a disposable camera. Force yourself to use a flash. Play with long exposures. Screw on a filter. Shoot only video. Find ways to make it work. Challenge yourself and you'll also learn more about technique and your camera.
Flatter somebody. Find a photographer you admire and try to shoot just like that person. Alter your eye to see as they do. You might think that they're in a better environment than you for these opportunities. That's no excuse. See the elements that make their photos great, and put those elements in your viewfinder. You can also have fun processing them to look similar too.
Feed your soul with life and regret. Sometimes the best work for your photography is putting the camera down. Eat delicious food, spend time with loved ones, visit the theater, go to concerts, live life! If you're stressing over photography, it's time to take a break. Find other ways to be creative. Then, when you're out in that boring old neighborhood, you'll see the most amazing shot appearing before you, you'll reach for your camera, and you'll realize that you left the damn thing at home. The moment will pass and the shot will be gone forever. That missed shot will be the most memorable photo you never took, and you'll smile like an idiot when thinking about it. Your friends and loved ones will roll their eyes internally as they pretend to understand your excitement and regret over the missed shot, but only you will be able to see it burned in your mind's eye. It's a shame, yes. But that missed photo will forever keep you chasing after similar shots in your viewfinder.
Those are my humble suggestions. Let me know in the comments what you do to keep your eyes fresh.