How I Shoot is a new series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about their photo-taking process.

Paul Octavious (@pauloctavious) is a Chicago-based photographer who lives near a hill. It’s a hill just like any other, and yet Paul has managed to bring it to life through a series of photos, tagged #samehilldifferentday on Instagram. By capturing the hill at various times throughout the year, his photos come together to tell the story of the hill: we see it on bright summer days, crowded with people flying kites and picnicking, as well as on cold nights, deserted, the sun setting behind the Chicago skyline in the distance. We caught up with Paul to learn more about his project and how it came about.

Your first #samehilldifferentday photo on Instagram was shared about seven months ago. How did the series begin?

The #samehilldifferentday series on Instagram is actually part of a series I started 3 years ago ( I moved to the northside of Chicago and found the hill in my neighborhood. Ever since I discovered the hill, I have been walking to it and documenting it with my Digital SLR. I find it interesting how the locals interact with the hill.

On Instagram alone, you’ve shared over 30 photos of the hill, and there are several more (including videos!) on your website. Does photographing the same thing multiple times change the way you look at it?

Yes! For me photographing the same thing over time helps me evolve as a photographer. It helps me learn and I start to see things differently. 

How’d you get your start as a photographer?

I bought my first DSLR in 2005. Before that, when I was way younger, my parents would always supply me with a Polaroid. So I have always been interested in capturing moments. 

What kind of camera and apps do you use for photos that you share on Instagram?

For Instagram photos, I just shoot with the camera on the iPhone 4. I use Instagram to edit my photos; rarely do I find myself using a different camera app for editing. When I’m out and about photographing, I tend to photograph a moment with both my 5dMKII and Instagram + iPhone 4. For the most part, I tend to get 2 completely different moments. Though the iPhone 4 + Instagram is nowhere near the quality of the 5D + Photoshop, it gives me the instant gratification of showing others what I just experienced in a fun way.


This day was the first day I noticed the hill was completely green and summer had arrived!

This was the first day I had woken up to see the sunrise while living in Chicago. After I took this shot I went swimming in Lake Michigan.

For the past 4 years, my best friends have flown in for my birthday! This was the first year I took the 5 of them to the hill.

Every year a kite festival takes over the skies over the hill. This is may be my favorite time of the year.

Every winter kids flock to the hill and sled down it in high speeds. I have yet to sled down the hill myself. Come this year I’m changing that!

When I took this photo, all I kept thinking about was that Windows desktop background.

The portrait at the top of this post was taken by Derek Wood.