Sometimes when you're out taking the "grand" shots, you overlook the details of a location. Often, the scene is so complex and chaotic, you can get overwhelmed trying to capture it all in one image. You know...umm...you don't have to. Point your camera at some of the details, and you'll get some interesting shots.
Every time I can, I wander into a farmer's market on the weekend. You can find them all over the world, filled with tables and booths, bursting with flowers, crafts, and food. There are people everywhere - shopping, playing instruments, and selling merchandise. Tell the story by blotting out the commotion, and make images without those distractions.
I missed this year's Fun Run for St. Mary's Home for Disabled Children because I was shooting a wedding. I hope to be able to help them again soon. (Please donate to their fine work here. They can use the help, and you'll feel better.) Last year, however, I was surrounded by all the runners, kids, and pressure of trying to tell their story. The kids and volunteer runners are the most important shots, but I also needed to get supporting images that their media representative could use in advertising brochures. Time to focus in on some details, like the medals and the kids signing of the big donation check.
You don't own a macro lens? No worries. Just get in close, and shoot a small part of the scene. You don't have to capture everything there. This is another time you can look for shape and texture.
A detail doesn't have to be small, either. Here is an image from the Washington Nationals ballpark. That clock is probably three stories high, but sure looks small when you're at the ballpark watching the home team blow another game.
The next time you are out, look for the details of the scene. Make a special effort to capture them. Most people never bother, so, if nothing else, it will keep you more interested and work your creative muscles. And you'll have fun creating more unique shots than most other people who have been to that location.