View Poll Results: A poll about your scouting preferences

Voters
41. You may not vote on this poll
  • 1) My scouting is w/o the distraction of camera gear – I go gearless

    6 14.63%
  • 2) It makes sense to scout w/ camera gear, ready for immediate action

    11 26.83%
  • 3) I’m a digital scouter, recording locations and ideas with a digital device

    5 12.20%
  • 4) Me, I’m an analog scouter – pencil, pad, notes, sketches, etc.

    5 12.20%
  • 5) My memory is good – I simply memorize ideas while scouting

    10 24.39%
  • 6) I always have a framing device to help (smart phone, viewing card)

    7 17.07%
  • 7) I look for subjects, then plan my return to coincide w/ good light/season

    19 46.34%
  • 8) I look for good light and its timing, and will return to look for subjects

    3 7.32%
  • 9) Scouting? My images find me, I don’t find them. Call it the art of Zen!

    8 19.51%
  • 10) Some helpful remarks from my personal experiences: [Please share below!]

    5 12.20%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

  1. #1
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Seattle, Wash.
    Posts
    2,827

    Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    If you’re a scouter, please share your secrets and best practices from the field.

    I often scout without camera gear – that’s a lot of fun! I think it’s as much fun as going out to take photos.

    But on shooting days, even as I hike with gear to a known subject, it’s natural for me to notice possible shots for the future. And if I come upon a subject in great light, I’ll drop my original plans and compose right then and there. Spontaneous scouting is a useful tool in my bag, just as important as deliberative scouting.

    Please share your scouting preferences in this poll – maybe they’ll also inspire you to offer personal or unique insights that can help other LFers on the quest for images.

  2. #2
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Seattle, Wash.
    Posts
    2,827

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    And here are a few scouting questions on my mind:

    • Do you treat shooting and scouting as two very different activities, requiring attention from separate parts of the mind – and ideally, needing separate outings?
    • Do you return (and return again) to areas you’ve scouted before?
    • Do you wait for specific conditions, such as weather, season, or time of day, then head out to scout?
    • Do you have a scouting kit? What do you bring? For example, a spot meter? Viewing card? Binoculars?
    • What are the main facts you record (or remember) about a promising subject? If you're off trail, how do you record a location if it's tricky to find?

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    8,345

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    No.10

    I do not scout, generally. I am more interested in the light that I am seeing and prefer to wander with the camera until the light, place, and me all come together. I would not call that spontaneous scouting...just photographing.

    I have been photographing along Prairie Creek with LF since 1977. Scouting is not really needed. Standing outside my house and figuring out what the weather is like 50 miles to the north is the challenge. Will there be a breeze or not?! I know the trees and sections of creek very well...and have had to say good-by to many old friends. I will occasionally find myself remembering an image made in a spot as I pass it and notice that in the 30 years, the opening that the light had brought alive has now closed in. Elsewhere, there are some places I might never be at again, or at least never in the same light. Some areas I return to every few years and rediscover (Death Valley, Dry Falls, etc).

    I suppose I am looking at light all the time, only sometimes I have a camera with me.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    721

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    I’m basically 1 and 3 through 7. My way of making photographs would be excruciating to anyone besides me, but to answer your questions:

    1. Not necessarily different parts of the mind per se. But from a practical perspective in order to avoid it becoming too technically overwhelming/daunting I need to divide it up into several separate, more manageable steps. Usually that means multiple visits.

    2. Yes but really only before I make the actual photograph(s). By the time I make exposures I’ve usually exhausted the location in terms of ideas. Not always, but most of the time.

    3. Not usually for the initial scouting and figuring out the compositions or whatever one calls it, but I will return under the planned conditions to do stuff like metering if required. Once everything has been sorted out I’ll come back a final time to make the exposures.

    4. It depends on which part of the process. I used to always have a little note pad to make sketches, notes, whatever, and a viewing card, often a 35mm camera. However over the past several years I’ve come to rely mostly on my phone and leave the rest of it at home. It’s just so convenient for making preparatory photo studies.

    5. I mostly photograph locally so remembering the location is not a problem. The facts I try to record are mostly to deal with technical challenges/problems.

  5. #5
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Seattle, Wash.
    Posts
    2,827

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I know the trees and sections of creek very well … and have had to say good-by to many old friends.
    I feel your pain. Several trees I’ve posted here are now victims of the mountain pine beetle. Their bleached remains remain photogenic, but I do miss my old friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R View Post
    …I’ll return under the planned conditions to do stuff like metering if required. Once everything has been sorted out, I’ll come back a final time to make the exposures.
    Just as you describe, I’ve scouted a selected subject more than once before feeling ready for an exposure. Some of my favorite images were made this way. And as Vaughn says, I’ve also returned to a selected subject to find natural changes have made my original idea impossible. All part of a living and dying landscape.

    -----
    How about a scouting example…

    Here’s a favorite tree I found when scouting (gearless) off trail – or I should say off beach (in Olympic NP in Washington state):

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Olympic Beach Tree.jpg 
Views:	33 
Size:	200.7 KB 
ID:	215520

    I liked its shape and the surrounding forest floor, so I recorded its location, noting that ideally, I’d like to return when the coast was enveloped in a thick marine layer, as the Olympic NP coast often is during morning hours. The reason – to add some atmospheric separation between the tree and its background.

    So what you see here is the image during my return visit (a year later). I headed out early when the morning beach was under impenetrable thick fog. But as you can see, when I arrived, the marine layer had burnt off. Not even a wisp of fog in the crystal blue sky. I missed my visualization by about 90 minutes. But who’s to complain when hiking in this primitive and beautiful area?

    I’ll return this summer for another try – pitching my tent nearby for an earlier start.

    Tachi 4x5
    Schneider XL 110mm/5.6
    T-max 100 (in T-max rs)
    Epson 4990/Epson Scan

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    8,345

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    Quote Originally Posted by Heroique View Post
    I feel your pain. Several trees I’ve posted here are now victims of the mountain pine beetle. Their bleached remains remain photogenic, but I do miss my old friends....
    Old age has taken most of my favorite big-leaf maples. Amongst the redwoods, they are relative short and short-lived...the ones I grew accustomed to are only a hundred feet tall or so and live at most 200 years. I think the weight of the lichens and ferns helps to bring them down, eventually.

    Half of this one has fallen...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Maple, Prairie Cr Redwoods_8x10.jpg  
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Chichester, UK
    Posts
    414

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    I do initial scouting by studying UK ordnance survey explorer maps, I don't know what the US equivalent is. These are very detailed and include contour lines, footpaths/bridleways and parking spots. Much more useful than google maps for working out what you can get access to, and of course not battery reliant. After planning out some walks I tend to go scouting in the middle of the day, and work out good shooting spots. I prefer to shoot before and just after sunrise/sunset so time is limited when I need to be productive.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3,613

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    I am always scouting for subjects, especially when driving out of the city. I don't use any tools other than my eyes until I take a camera to the site. Usually an image shows itself to me. If not, I use a viewing card the same ratio as the camera I have with me. Then the camera goes on the tripod and I use the ground glass to scan as I slowly rotate the camera. (A technique I learned during one of my conversations with Paula Chamlee.)
    After the exposure is made the camera is rotated 180 degrees, where I often find a better image.

  9. #9
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Seattle, Wash.
    Posts
    2,827

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias Key View Post
    I do initial scouting by studying UK ordnance survey explorer maps, I don't know what the US equivalent is…
    Sometimes I use what I presume is the U.S. equivalent, the USGS quadrangle ("Quad") series. These are quite useful, 7.5 minute topographic maps whose scale is 1:24,000 (that is, 1 inch = 2,000 feet). They show enough detail about natural and cultural features to make scouting off-trail areas very easy, very fun. To be sure, exploring with these maps is, I believe, about as much fun one can have in the woods, whether or not I find a landscape subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    I am always scouting for subjects, especially when driving out of the city.
    The poll might have had an option for car scouting. For me, scouting by car can be an art, especially when I’m on lonely FS roads. I think it requires a lot of talent to look for and recognize subjects ahead of you and to the side, while concentrating on safe driving. I sometimes stop to explore if my FS map says there’s a stream or cliff hiding behind the screen of trees. I've discovered a handful of LF shots this way.

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    8,345

    Re: Landscapers, please share wisdom about scouting

    I am terrible at 'scouting by car'. I'm okay for using a car to find general areas to explore on foot, but seeing image possibilities requires far too much mental focus, or de-focusing might be better, than driving/moving in a car allows me.

    Google Earth is a good resource for finding places to work in...although I am not set up for doing that on the road.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

Similar Threads

  1. Scouting locations
    By John Kasaian in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 24-Dec-2014, 13:46
  2. Scouting locations tomorrow...
    By John Kasaian in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 20-Aug-2012, 08:50
  3. Landscapers ― share your best “take-down” tips
    By Heroique in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 15-Aug-2011, 13:42
  4. Tell us why your “scouting” is useful
    By Heroique in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 28-Sep-2010, 07:59
  5. Scouting Trip
    By al olson in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 24-Jul-2010, 18:41

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •