It doesn’t matter how good of a person’s observation is, the likelihood to get good photography by revisiting the same area frequently is low. Unless you accumulate a fair amount of time spend on shooting. It happens to me that might not even get anything interesting at all for a single night/day.
However, I believe the likelihood of traveling would yield better photography by chance. I think there’re several factors that explains why (in my opinion). Let me try to list them one by one:
When seeing new people, new environment, new things, anything we think special to us; we would capture them with our instinct. Pretty much like encountering cultural shock in the first place. We just don’t know how to react, we hit the shutter anyway..
Fresh faces and places
Faces and environments that are new to us. We are more likely to raise our camera to shoot. I grew up in a city, when I get a chance to visit the countryside. I shoot just about anything. New faces can also be how the people dress. I’m particularly interested with the minorities’ costumes in Hong Kong. They’re something that I do not often see. And they look clean and colorful. They usually stick out to the crowd.
Won’t come back anytime that soon, so you try harder
If I got a chance to travel the world, any street photography I do would try 100 times harder to get the shot. I would not even care about how my subjects feels literally (I’d still greet and thank them). I’d really find a vantage point to shoot environmental portraits. You’d do anything to make yourself ready, such as get up early, scout the area, even ask for a posed photo. You’d always bring your A-game to make the streets become your stage.
With direction, without plan
I do not mean you get shipped to another country with a map then you’re on your own. I mean when you plan on traveling to (ex. Chicago), you’d go see the Sears, Water Tower, Millennium Park, and all that. When time allows, you’d be curious what’s on the northern part of the city; you might take a cab, metro, bus to visit the old town to see if people are different up there. Or maybe you’re wandering on the Michigan Avenue, you wonder what if I do a little detour for a few blocks.
I often end up walking to a destination that I’ve not planned.
Nothing to lose
You feel free when you land on a new district/city/state/province/country. I always think shooting photos in my neighborhood would make people I’m weird or have some kind of strange habit/fetish? (especially in street photography). So I rarely shoot photos or even bring my camera out a few blocks off my home. Not sure if that’s something you’d do too, it’d be interesting to know from you ;P
When you’re at a new place, I think much like going to a college. You tend to walk around/ drive around the campus and explore the college town. Same token in street photography I believe. You’re a tourist or not from the area, people understands that. You tend to go one step further for the shot. Your mentality of your visitation pushes you to think outside the box.
I think that sums up what I think about this topic.