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02-21-2011, 10:29 AM   #16
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I'm a spontaneous planner. I generally set out with my camera and a plan and end up shooting something completely different. For the most part, I'm spontaneous. My plan usually consists of where I'm going, nothing much more and sometimes that changes on the fly.

02-21-2011, 11:22 AM   #17
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I'm a bit of both but only one at a time. If I'm going on a social outing that involves a lot of people, then I'm a lot closer to B. Throw in some zooms, cover a nice range e.g (24-70 + 50-135 or 18-135 or 18-250) and go. The same goes if I'm travelling with a group.

But if I'm on my own or with family, then I'll be planning certain types of subjects, certain types of lighting, and definitely very specific primes -- usually limiteds.

And then of course there is kitchen sink approach when you are travelling with family and you really have no idea what to expect. In that case, I can easily bring 6-7 lenses with me.

A while back, I thought about all this carefully and made a spreadsheet with "lens sets" for all the different types of shooting days that I could imagine. I must be a planner who plans on being spontaneous.
02-21-2011, 10:43 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by vandamro Quote
A while back, I thought about all this carefully and made a spreadsheet with "lens sets" for all the different types of shooting days that I could imagine. I must be a planner who plans on being spontaneous.
I did that too. Built my lens database, used that to build spreadsheets of varied lens combinations. Which I immediately ignored. Guess I'm a chaotic anal-compulsive.

So my kit any certain day will include most of the usual suspects, plus a few wildcards, and/or something I specifically want to use for whatever reason. Totally inconsistent. But petty consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, right? Right?
02-23-2011, 07:08 AM   #19
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Both. Plans are nothing, planning is everything.
So I plan, throw away the plans and get spontaneous. My experience is that I'm carrying the planning with me over in spontanous mode.

02-23-2011, 08:01 AM   #20
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depends on what i am doing. i grab the camera (or 2) every day without any firm plans in many cases, but i also have gigs that i plan for and i plan for specific shots some days (usually these are also my most successful shooting days, with the exception of vacations where i plan to shoot every day but have no idea what until i get there)
02-23-2011, 08:44 AM   #21
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No offense, but spontanious shooting is snapshooting, often using a DSLR like a glorified P&S with a "walk-about" zoom.
I have a plan, a purpose and a vision every time I go out. I carry a backpack and tripod (30-40 pounds) everywhere (sometimes for miles), because even though I have a plan, I'm never certain which prime will be best until the scene presents itself, and if something unexpected pops up, I want options to alter plans.
Once I have a scene or subject, I try to force myself to slow down and think the shot through, unless the subject is fleeting.
My biggest problem has been, and remains, not taking enough time to think a shot through to get the best from my equipment and options. The more I've learned about photography the more options I have, so the more likely it is I'll forget something, and only when I'm veiwing them full screen on the computer do I realize I should have done this or that, or tried this just to see how it works.
Sometimes I slap my hand against my forehead and start planning to reshoot the scene.
I'm not as obsessive about other things in my life, and if you saw my office, you would believe that, but about photography, I'm an anal-retentive.
But this is the part I love most about photography. Over the decades, I've taken so many pics that just taking pics doesn't do much for me.
02-23-2011, 08:50 AM   #22
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Ron, when i go to shoot the type of subject you do i'm much of the same mind, same when i have a plan within the city. However some types of photography don't allow for this approach, but you can plan for them. when i go to shoot street scenes or more spontaneous things i plan which lens but never know what i will shoot until i do, when i go to shoot an event i usually have a few lenses to cover my options, on the street usually only 2 small primes
02-23-2011, 09:21 AM   #23
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Well I would say that I am quite a bit closer to type A, the planner. Rarely to the extent of Ron, but I like to think about what I am going to shoot, and what I would most like to shoot it with. I often have an image of what sort of result I would like too. My reasoning is to get better basically. Through trial and error I have found that this approach works better for me most the time. If I am feeling spontaneous, it all too easily turns into crap photos- unless I am lucky. However I do try and prepare for the unexpected, which usually means packing too much gear or more than one format. The amount of planning differs depending on the format and subject too. With film I am usually more spontaneous (35mm). On digital I know what sort of subjects I like most, more often than not.

02-23-2011, 09:51 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by goddo31 Quote
With film I am usually more spontaneous (35mm). On digital I know what sort of subjects I like most, more often than not.
that's funny because i will be more spontaneous (and generate more crap pictures) on digital due to the zero cost. with film i tend to put way more thought into it unless i am just winding off some film to test a new piece of gear.

Last edited by eddie1960; 02-23-2011 at 10:33 AM.
02-23-2011, 10:26 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
No offense, but spontanious shooting is snapshooting, often using a DSLR like a glorified P&S with a "walk-about" zoom.
No offense, but that's a very narrow viewpoint. Kinda like saying that improvised jazz is lesser than pre-scripted solos. It just ain't so. Besides, what's wrong with P&S cameras? I have a friend who makes killer photos on his I-phone while he's traveling Europe on assignment. Neither "spontaneous" nor "planned" is better than the other. They're just different.
02-23-2011, 10:46 AM   #26
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Of course, it's narrow, Tao. This thread asked for honesty about personal approaches. That my approach, though it is different than a decade ago and certainly different than when I started almost four decades ago. Doesn't matter to me at all what others do or enjoy.
02-23-2011, 10:49 AM   #27
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There's been some great points made by advocates of both camps. In general it seems to be that it takes a bit of both to make the world go round.

Planning is important - you wouldn't just step out of the house and into the street without first checking for traffic. You "plan" to go when the coast is clear. But you can't plan that particular moment; when it happens it's spontaneous.

Same with photography. One shouldn't miss opportunities that pop up simply because it wasn't planned.
02-23-2011, 10:52 AM   #28
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It says in the Tao Te Ching, if I can remember it correctly without looking it up:
For one to feel punctured, they must have been a bubble.
02-23-2011, 11:18 AM   #29
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I plan extensively for spontaneity. That is, I make plans that, however detailed they might be, are nevertheless laced with many contingency options. I have to do this because I have no idea what kind of conditions I will face when I get to my planned location. If I wish to shoot Roosevelt Elk, I can't be sure that I will have any success. The herds may be in an inaccessible place, or they may be in an unattractive setting, or in bad light; I need contingency plans so my time isn't wasted (e.g., no elk, so I'll shoot redwoods or coastal scenery).

When traveling to somewhere I'm not familiar with, I do extensive research on the internet and the library. I determine which places are best photographed given the weather or the time of day. If it's sunny, I look to get, say, sunrise or sunset shots of a specific lake or mountain. If it's cloudy, I look for wildlife or a specific waterfall. And I always leave plenty of room for flexibility, just in case things appear differently then expected once I get there (they often do). I find that spontaneity is far more successful if you have a large mental database to draw from detailing one's options; and the database is built up, at least in part, through extensive planning.
02-23-2011, 12:03 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
Doesn't matter to me at all what others do or enjoy.
If this is true, why did you feel the need to label those who use an approach that's different from yours?
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