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

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    I have to learn to do this. Too many dreary banal shots after getting to the site when sun suddenly disappears (or appears) or the scene is not what I thought, but still say "what the heck" and shoot anyway. When I look at the results I'm miserable. Much better to have gone home.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
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    Baraboo, Wisconsin
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    7,697

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

    I don't see that "fault" enters into it. Why does blame have to be affixed to anyone or anything just because I didn't see something I wanted to photograph? I try very hard to avoid the syndrome of "I came all this way/got up so early, I guess I should photograph something." That's much easier to do with the price of film being what it is than it used to be.

    One thing I always do when I'm finished and start to head home is save at least one sheet of film for the return. It can be surprising how many things you see when walking in one direction that you didn't see when walking in the other direction.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  3. #23
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Jun 1999
    Location
    Everett, WA
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    2,928

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

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    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.
    Sometimes I bicycle around with my Holga, up and down alleyways. I photograph things when it occurs to me that they would make a good photograph. Sometimes I go through all the film I have. Sometimes I don't. What may not come out in one sort of light comes out in another sort of light. We are dependent on the light we have.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  4. #24
    Preston Birdwell
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    Feb 2007
    Location
    Columbia, CA
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    1,388

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

    There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”
    Perhaps the problem lies in the fact one is just 'looking', rather than 'seeing'.

    --P
    Preston-Columbia CA

    "If you want nice fresh oats, you have to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse; that comes a little cheaper."

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    820

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

    When I was young I often made the mistake of trying to force a good photograph. I do realize that great images are "made", e.g. still lifes, portraits, abstracts, etc. but they're not quickly/easily "found" on or off road... not in my little area of the country. And this is what the OP is about.

    Funny... it's been nearly thirty years since I took my last "real" photograph and am only recently getting back into it. I still haven't taken a single shot. I thought I'd photograph a dilapidated old bridge a few miles from my house sometime this weekend but, after having a more thorough look at it, at all angles, Friday on the way home I realized there's not a "great image" to be had of that bridge. Good? Sure. Great? No. There's an old cabin just down the road but there's a danged giant power pole smack-dab in front of it. I could, perhaps, include the pole in the image to try and tell a story but I'm not sure I can get the positioning right to make the message clear.

    I know it's weird but I've spent my whole life observing nearly everything around me and practicing that old skill of looking for a good image. IMHO, "great images" are quite rare. On the other hand... maybe I'm just jaded.

  6. #26
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Preston View Post
    Perhaps the problem lies in the fact one is just 'looking', rather than 'seeing'.

    --P
    There may be many reasons for this. Back in the late 1980's I did a workshop with the well known British photographer John Blakemore and while out on a field trip making images came across him sitting on a log having a cigarette. We began talking about why neither of us were making images and it transpired it was really for the same reasons, we were outside our normal parameters both involved in our own project work and had no purpose for any images we might have taken that day. So yes on that day we were just looking rather tahn seeing.

    We did discuss making other images outside of ongoing projects but concluded there needs to be something extra to make that worthwhile. I know in my case a few of those odd shots have been the trigger/starting point for new projects. I've been photographing old gates, fences and doors for about 25 years some have been part of existing projects most haven't but I've always had half a mind to put them together as a portfoloio or exhibition set on their own.

    It's all too easy to shoot just for the sake of it, it's much harder to have a discipline and only shoot images you really want.

    Ian

  7. #27
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    Preston, I’ve been waiting on you (and other posters), too.

    All the useful points raise a complicated question in my mind. Let’s see if I can simplify it ... without oversimplifying it – Ian’s anecdote above (about resting on the log) has already hinted at some of the following:

    In any given landscape, in any given light, here are a few (of the infinite) possibilities that, I think, are always there around you – whether you “see” them or not:

    1. Pleasing compositions possible w/ my tools.
    2. Pleasing compositions not possible w/ my tools.
    3. Displeasing compositions possible w/ my tools.
    4. Displeasing compositions not possible w/ my tools.

    Do true “seers” – such as Preston & other posters here – try to exclude the distractions of #2, #3, and #4 from their vision?

    Or if “seers” try to include them, doesn’t this come at a significant cost? Namely, obscuring their vision of #1 – even reducing the necessary mental energy or field time to capture it?

    Often, in the mountains, I’m an “includer,” and this has led me to those occasional moments of “There’s no shot here – time to head home,” but it has never shaken my faith that the shots are, indeed, really there, always.

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Durango CO
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    627

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

    I totally agree Ian.

    I look at a lot of my roll film shots and really wonder why I dropped the shutter.

    One of the reasons I'm upgrading my 4x5 kit, is that my shot volume keeps dropping as I get pickier, and given that volume, using sheet film is actually becoming the easy way to do get shots in a timely manner; rolls are staying in the camera too long.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  9. #29

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Durango CO
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    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”


    5. uninteresting compositions possible w/ my tools.
    6. uninteresting compositions not possible w/ my tools.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  10. #30
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: “There’s no shot around here – time to head home.”

    7. Interesting location, excellent poosibilities, but no thing inspires you at the time

    a. make mental note to return when the light or weathers better
    b. return different time of day (or season)
    c. return with different camera/lens (maybe a panoramic camera)
    d return when in diferent frame of mind
    e. return when there's far fewer people around

    8. You get good shots but you return again because there's more to inspire you, possibly different weather, season etc.


    These are some of the reasons I return to locations.

    Ian

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