I've come to the conclusion that my best photographs are the ones that "choose" me to take them, rather than the ones I "choose" to take.
Maybe its a serendipitous (hey, is that a word?) thing, the way the clouds rest on an unammed peak I spy while driving to a popular location where I(and several hundred others) have sought to "create" art.
Maybe its just a part of a rundown nieghborhood where I grew up thats calling me back to record it's passing from history.
These photographs are nearly always more alive and exciting than the contrived pictures of my imagination where I've worked out every detail: "chosen" the time of day and angle of the sun, "selected" the field of view and contrast of my lens, "determined" in advance what atmospheric conditions I want for "my" vision, etc... which now strikes me as being the harbinger of what will be sterile, lifeless and oh soooo boring.
When a photograph, a really good photograph, presents itself I find that the ol' dorff seems to unfold itself. Whatever lens is on hand works good enough and if I've got 400 Tmax loaded rather than FP4+, when it comes down to the final results it really dosen't matter. Being there and responding to the moment is what matters---and it always shows up in the print.
There is an ancient snag that I've wanted to shoot on a starry night. The gnarled branches would seem to be grabbing at the stars while puffly clouds float by like angels. I've studied this image in my imagination for well over a year. I know what phase of the moon I need and where to set up and which lens /film combination will be fast enough to reduce the effect of star trails. As neat as this idea sounds, a family of mushrooms growing on a rotten log that has an undeniable comical element, or a road cut into a mountainside which provides astonishing glimpse of what looks to be chambers in a subterreanean hell composed of the exposed roots of trees---I mean you get the tree trunks, carpet of pine needles, top soil, subsoil, and then the roots and caverns all for the eyes to see at once---and its all unexpected, unplanned, un-everything---wow!
Anyone else here ever feel that way?