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Thread: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    currently Boulder, CO; formerly Seattle, WA.

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post

    But sometimes I am walking around seeing nothing -- so I'll just set up the camera on anything closely resembling a image -- and that gets my head into the right space.

    I totally agree with this, and sometimes it does help me. If I cannot find anything I think will be a strong image ill sometimes find something that is OK....seems like going through the motions sometimes helps me see. Granted I am more likely to do this with 4x5 than 8x10 due to costs.

    It's kind of how i think I see differently when I have a capable camera with me. This is the reason I recently got back into the mamiya 7 system so I can carry a camera everyday, even when the goal is not photography. If I have a camera with me that I can make a decent enlargement with I tend to find more things to shoot, somehow doesn't work the same for me if I carry just the digital point n shoot.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    If there is nothing that stirs my muse, I'm just greatful forthe time spent being outside and not wasteing any of my 8x10 film
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  3. #13
    Andi Heuser
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    To avoid that problem one could make scouting before shooting.
    But even that gives no guarentee for a success.
    The weather can change and the light,
    someone painted a building with an ugly color the day before or the whole scene is suddenly a construction site and ruins your carefully planned picture.

    It happened to me that I wanted to shoot a very nice shrub in a nearby park. I forgot the film and
    said to me: no problem, can be done the next days.
    When I came back some days later the gardeners have "shaved" the shrub....
    Hey, but i learned from it

  4. #14

    Join Date
    May 2007

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    We cannot be every photographer, everywhere, every time. If I cannot see a shot, I leave. Maybe in the future I will see it. Maybe another photographer would have found it, but all are immaterial to me at the time, when I cannot.

    Its important to know when not to drive yourself nuts and go home. Sometimes I have walked/driven home and not stopped for shots I have seen. Sometimes you have just gotta stop and, as a person who drives myself pretty hard, this IMO is also a consideration quite separate from 'vision.'

  5. #15
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Seattle, Wash.

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    If I cannot see a shot, I leave. Maybe in the future I will see it.
    Turtle, I’ve been waiting for you.

    You’re one of the precious few.

    Those who know the composition is always there, whether seen or not.

  6. #16
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Maryland, USA

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    For some reason, practice is not considered "normal" for a photographer like it is for a musician.

    Even when I'm not inspired, I can find something to shoot that challenges my technique or process, even if it's not exciting.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  7. #17
    IanG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Aegean (Turkey & UK)

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    I think you hone how you work. Usually when working on a project I have a ritualistic meander journeying to where I'll be shooting, taking in the lanscape, watching for changes sometimes making. This gets me into the feel and mood of the landscape (area) I'm shooting in.

    The sense of place is almost more important than making images so it doesn't bother me if I don't make any images at all. In practice the images I make tend to be chosen almost subconsciously as if by instict. Much of it is helped by familiarity with equipment, camera, lenses, films etc, and I know that I will have cosen the camera position, lens etc with minimal thought as to whether one lens would be better than another, or how I might vary my position to improve the shot. In practice that first position/choice of lens invariably turns out to be the one that works best.

    Heroique started this thread following a discussion of camera limitation (through lack of movements) which is why he added this line "You’re not really going to blame the landscape or your gear, are you? "

    What ever you're shooting you have to work within the constrains and limitations of your equipment, so if you're shooting with say a Crown Graphic with it's very limited movements there will be times when you can't make the images you would prefer and have to make compomises. I found this occurring quite frequently but it's not the equipment that's to blame it's my inappropriate choice of camera. It was the frustration of knowing I could have made the images with my Wista 45DX but neccessity meant I had to use a hand holdable camera (where tripods aren't permitted).

    That doesn't mean I couldn't get good images with the Crown Graphic rather that it ruled out some entirely or compromised how I'd have preferred to make others. Perhaps if the only LF camera I'd ever used was a Crown Graphic or similar it would be different however having used my Wista for over 25 years and monorails for a decade before that I've grown too used to making good use of a fuller range of movements.

    The Crown Graphic will still get used but it's been superceeded by a Super Graphic which still gives me the ability to work hand-held while having sufficient movements. It's about using the most appropriate camera that suits your specific photographic needs.


  8. #18

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Oregon and Austria

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    I don't feel that I have to make a photograph every time I go out. And, as I photograph more, I tend to make fewer and fewer photos, having become more discriminating and experienced.

    For me, it is much like hunting; success (or failure) depends on a number of serendipitous confluences. Of course, one of the factors is me; often, when not having shot actively for a while, it takes me a day or so to "warm up" again. But, there are lots of environmental factors including where you happen to be at particular time, but this does not necessarily have to be a particularly famous or scenic or even interesting place. I like to say, "pictures are where you find them." I spent an entire week in Yosemite and came away with one "shit shot" of a reflection of Half Dome that was taken mostly because I felt I should at least have one negative from there. While driving on, I ended up spending an hour or two with icicles hanging on rocks on the side of the highway...

    That said, I find I find more shots when I have a clear, open mind and a lot of things I want to communicate. When I'm feeling particularly misanthropic, which happens on occasion, I shoot less, just because I don't really want to share with those bastards anyway. Maybe I'll make some very private images. When all is right with the world and my desire to share with my fellow man is at a high, I tend to make more images.

    Finally, there are times when I've worked an area and say almost exactly what you titled the thread, "there's no shot around here ... time to head on." I don't ever really stop photographing, I just take breaks. There's always tomorrow, next week, next winter... I will find something, sooner or later.

    Addendum: Sometimes I do blame my inability to get a shot on my equipment. Damned camera won't move like it needs to, the lens won't cover like it's supposed to, and where the hell is f/397 anyway so I can get everything sharp, and what did I do with that 1800mm telephoto?! Seriously, I sometimes visualize images that just aren't technically feasible with what I have with me, or maybe with what is even available. Oh well; I carry a gallery of such missed shots around with me in my head.



  9. #19
    William Whitaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    North Carolina, for now...

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    Nobody should suffer photographic disenfranchisement. For that reason I always carry an attorney in my camera bag.

    Otherwise, I can identify well with what Doremus said.

  10. #20
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Humboldt County, CA

    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    I believe we have had discussions on scouting an area. I do not use scouting as a tool. I am sort of anti-scouting for my work. For me, part of the sense of place that Ian referred to is my sense of the place at the time I am experiencing it -- not trying to recapture what I saw and felt about a place on a previous visit. Very rarely do I walk out the door with a preconceived notion of what I will put onto film...and as I reach the redwoods in my car, I decide where I am going to park and start my day.

    At the same time however, how I experience a place is influenced by past visits to a place -- and all my experiences with light that I have had in many places in the past. In 1981 hitched hiked around in New Zealand for 3 months with a 4x5. How I saw the light on the landscape was influenced by the year I spent in NZ 6 years earlier (going to university) -- which was before I even began to photograph. The 4x5 I was using had a massive light leak and I go only a couple images from the hitch-hiking trip. But I still had the experience of looking at the light, photographing, and printing those negatives in my head as I walked for miles and miles in between rides. I returned to NZ in 1986 for a 6 month bicycle trip with a dependable 4x5. While I did return to some of the places of the 3 month trip, most were new to me, and while I would not call the hitchhiking trip "scouting", it greatly influenced how I saw the NZ light...and was one of the factors that allowed me to make a solid portfolio of work.

    For many years I had only one lens, yet never felt that I was missing images due to this limitation. There are an infinite number of possible images out in front of us. One can not limit infinity. A painter might have a hard time getting an idea/concept/image onto canvas, but there are no limits to number of ideas available to him or her.

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