One man's Mede is another man's Persian.
Interesting, I’ve noticed two camps – evenly divided I’d say – about how to start seeing shots that just don’t seem to be there:
The first likes going through the “shot-taking” motions to lure inspiration; the second prefers to just stop, relax, or walk away ... and maybe return later.
Both have worked for me, but the first has produced a greater number of favorite compositions.
It is interesting to read the views on this.
I used to take my digital camera as well as my LF stuff just to take a photo of something even knowing inside that ultimately it was going to be no good. Now I don't bother and just enjoy getting out and having a walk. If I manage to see anything I am happy with that's an added bonus.
Looking through the image sharing part of the forum however (most recently on the leaves thread) shows that there are potential compositions everywhere, and it seems to be more about thinking about potential images in ways I ordinarily would not have considered (such as the small instead of the large view). I know I will have having a good look at the leaves next time I am out and about, which is something I would not even have considered at all before looking through that thread in particular. If there is no shot to be found at the time, it's probably my fault, but I might find it some time in the future.
I don't bother with consolation snapshots. Though I do share your disappointment in having nothing to process and print from the excursion.
I dont like going home with nothing, I also don't like paying $12 AUD to get a 4x5 slide processed knowing full well the image on it has no feeling, no meaning. its just a shot to make me feel like I achieved something on the day..
I do enjoy bushwalking and hiking so going for a 15km walk through the forest in search of good light is fine with me, If I get a shot or two, awesome, if not, well... next time. film and processing is too expensive to shoot willy nilly..
Chamonix 045N-2 - 90/8 - 210/5.6 - Acros100 - Rodinal.
Creative Self-Portraits Captured Inside an Airplane Lavatory
A Fascinating Look at the Microscopic World Inside One Drop of Water
Macro Shots Using a Canon 5D Mark II with a 4×5 Large Format Camera
There's lots more ideas on that site.
When I was starting out with my Pentax 6x7, a coworker told me about a book from Kodak. It started with a shot of the Earth from orbit, with the caption, "Number of subjects: 1." The next shot was of a satellite photograph, the next was aerial and so on, and finally zooming into the microscopic range, and always increasing the subject count.
So the next time you're in a bathroom stall with some time on your hands, make a self portrait!
"It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans
It just doesn't work for me if I am not seeing things. The images are rotten without exception.
If I can't see the exact shot I want then I go home. I do a lot more scouting than shooting. I usually keep notes of each possible shot and I plan my shot in advance. I agree with Mr. Goldman that forced shots "are rotten without exception." Shooting just to be shooting is a waste of film and time. I think we have to get away from the idea that a trip is a failure without making exposures. It is necessary to turn down the many bad shots so that we can throughly prepare for the few good ones. You can't hit what you don't see. If you are seeing poorly then go home. Tomorrow will come soon enough.