Spontaneous Shooting
So many times in my life I have found myself driving along and noticing scenes that I think I would love to capture but find myself too busy to stop and grab the shot. Often at times it just may not be possible, due to the traffic or roads I am on that may not have anywhere I can just pull off to the side and get out to grab a capture or two.

In fact, just the other day as I was driving home from Gallery 5 with a new lens that arrived in the mail that day that I was going to see if it would become my new "everyday lens".

Traveling home that day as I was approaching a section of road that I had already spotted out a scene in my mind of some old farm implements and horses that are usually there on the hillside. And I have told myself many times "I need to pull over and grab that shot" and sometimes have even looked in the rear view mirror to see if anyone was right behind me in case I wanted to stop in a hurry.

I can think of so very many shots I have missed that I visioned in my mind, but didn't stop to capture them. Only to find that due to various possible reasons, that same shot was no longer available other than the time I first saw it. But in this case I have seen those retired farm tools sitting there every day that I take a certain route to Gallery 5... Today, I decided it to be different. and "Tail To The Wind" was created.

By the time I got to this spot, I had already pulled off the road to capture some rolled bales of straw and hopefully the local buffalo population. Well, the buffalo weren't close enough to me to capture, but I did grab a few shots of the straw bales. Then several miles later I pulled off to grab a few captures of an old barn in need of some fresh paint.

New Gear Is Always A Good Spark For Creative Outburst
It had become more than just a task of trying out a new lens, but I was a full blown creative burst to fulfill capturing some of the scenes I have envisioned during drives over the last few weeks. As it is on the same road that I once had the chance to capture a garden of giant sunflowers, but i never pulled over. And now that batch of sunflowers is finished for the season until next year.

In the case of this scene, it turned out to be quite rewarding, as I didn't even realize the horse tail blowing in the wind, or they were just flapping them around as they munched on something. After I was home and opened up the images on the computer, I realized that there was a nice "bonus element" in the captures, especially the featured horse in the middle, as his/her tail was in full bloom.

I was fortunate enough way back when, in 2001 when I was doing a review of a Leica digicam for eDigital Photo magazine and I saw this majestic sunrise along the Indian River. I pulled over and grabbed a few captures, all the while telling myself that I may never see the sky like that again... and of course I didn't.

And to add to my reward, the image ended up being on the cover of the September issue... all of which would have never happened if I had not pulled off the road and grabbed a few captures.

But... between that fantastic capture (Majestic Morning)in 2001 until today, I probably could count less than a handful of times I have spontaneously stopped to capture something that moved me enough to have the idea to stop in the first place.

For me, I think the reason I don't stop and grab spontaneous moments enough is because I think about if it has gallery potential or not. Obviously thats a frame of mind I need to get over... quick.

These are not the days of film where each exposure can have a "cost" associated with it. With digital, you can shoot 90 images as cheaply as you can shoot 1. And as I have found out very recently from a shoot I did thinking on purpose it would produce a great gallery piece... and it didn't. But some recent random shots I have captured, have also ended up in Gallery 5 when they were not planned that way at the time of capture. I also started a FaceBook album today of Spontaneous Shoots that you can keep up with long after this blog has been posted.

You possibly may encounter the same dilemma at times and later on you wish you had stopped to make that capture because it was no longer available. You may find yourself amazed at how well your peers like some of those spontaneous images, which adds to the reward of capturing them. As an artist, we hopefully produce works that please us, but also it feels good to know that other people also saw enjoyment in some of the same scenes.

One Of The Greatest Learning Tools
From the time I began playing with cameras some 40+ years ago, I have always been open to the idea, and tried to put into practice the task of improving my presentation and the quality of my works. You will find that spontaneous shooting is a great way to gather base images that you later discover what you would have done differently if you were back at the same spot shooting it over.

As for example in this image "Birds Eye", I ran across a few facets of the scene that I would alter or improve upon if I had a chance to re-shoot the very same image. It is our good fortune, that a lot of our spontaneous shoots, can in fact, be shot again. Thus giving us the opportunity to alter the aspects of the capture the way we would prefer now that we have seen it on the computer screen already.

For me... the greatest triumph in spontaneous shooting, is when I am processing the image and I don't find a lot of aspects about the capture that I would love to go back and change. And over time we are able to train our brains to slow down just a bit so that we run all those possible nuances of the capture through our mind. Kind of like thinking about what you say before you say it, but at the same time, not taking a lot of time to say it. And with the zero cost per exposure now, it should be no great effort to bracket the exposure to make sure the depth of field is just as we wanted it to be.

As I go from here, I hope that some day you are traveling behind me when I suddenly pull off the road and hop out with my camera in hand. As I equally hope to enjoy seeing you do the same... the reward from those images could be as much or more than the reward we have in admiring those well planned out captures. Grab your gear and go.... Shoot Spontaneously

One of the best things about this blog is, now that I expounded about spontaneous shooting, I have found myself pulling over to the side of the road and shooting some of those things I had always wished I would pull over and shoot.

Cover | About TPE | Previous Issues | Workshops | Gallery 5
Website Designed & Powered by Doctorsid Visual Media