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Author Topic: Is it Really the Destination?  (Read 6733 times)
didger
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« on: March 10, 2005, 05:03:38 PM »
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I gave up long ago making even the loosest itineraries for my trips.  I have a general goal that I head toward, but no time estimate whatsoever, and often enough I never reach the goal at all, either because I got "distracted" by too many nice things on the way or because somewhere along the way I got sidedtracked and decided to go in a different direction.  How can you look on a map and decide where the best light and best compositions will be and how much time you should spend where?

Backpacking photography is where you're going from here to there and you take a few snapshots on the way if you find the time.  Photography backpacking is where you make every decision as you go along to optimize the photography.  Sometimes I spend days in a row and never cover more than a 3 mile radius.

Due to these considerations I virtually never travel with other people.  The less itinerary constraints and the less social distractions, the better, if photography is the priority for your outing.
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2005, 06:20:45 PM »
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Well, just as I thought - this has been educating   .  Thanks for the responses here - this is extremely interesting from many standpoints.

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Due to these considerations I virtually never travel with other people.  The less itinerary constraints and the less social distractions, the better, if photography is the priority for your outing.
and

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Having a photographer along is always a good way to ruin a long walk...

Man, does this sound familiar, or what  :laugh: !  Very well put (my photography is a priority when I'm out, which probably explains why I'm still single (again)  :: ).  Wolfnowl, that was a great metaphor, and works for me very well, as did Howard's quote.  Makes a lot of sense -  thanks.  Lisa - I think actually you are along with the crowd on this one, as you are still not bypassing things (as I did   ), but are simply not looking for something by sitting still.  My problem is that I tend to not take advantage of the given in favour of the "maybe".  Your idea works (I've seen your images).  Mine appears to have gotten me into trouble a few times now.  Lastly, Bob - your idea about "as free as a bird" really strikes a chord within.  I like!

I'm now planning my holiday to (hopefully) the Maritimes.  We'll see how far I actually get.  Thanks again folks.  This has been interesting (and keep the comments coming for those who'd like to add to this).

Glenn
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didger
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2005, 07:59:04 AM »
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retirement
Ah, yes.  I'm at an age where most folks are already retired, but I'm still sort of floundering to try to figure out something to do that I might eventually retire FROM.  Switching from one non money making obsession to a different one probably doesn't qualify as "retirement".
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2005, 10:52:45 AM »
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So once you recognize that what you're seeing is "rare" and that you can make the drive to Tobermorrey any weekend - you stop and shoot!!!

My suggestion if you have 2 weeks for the Maritimes - go twice, once driving (fall? Quebec would be interesting) and once by air (spring?)

I'm thinking of heading up to Tobermorrey and Bruce NP the Easter weekend.  Any "secret spots" you can suggest?
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didger
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2005, 09:13:18 PM »
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It’s rare when mirror lockup, remote shutter, a stiff tripod, and weeks of planning captures a shot that holds my attention in print. Some of my best shots are hand held out the window at the speed limit.
Well, David Muench and Ansel Adams and countless other LF shooters seem to have done adequately well without the option of ever doing high speed snapshot mode.  I occasionally do quick handheld 1ds shots, but I can't say that this generally works as well for me as taking my time and being as careful as possible.  I've never spent weeks planning a shot.  I never really "plan" shots at all, but I do often spend a lot of time going to a few places in a given area many times for different lighting and cloud conditions.  I find this very effective also, compared to fast traveling opportunistic snap shots.  Different strokes for different folks, I reckon.
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dlashier
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2005, 04:40:41 AM »
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> wasn't anywhere near as good as what I passed up in my hurry to get to my destination.

That pretty much sums of life, doesn't it?  

I'm pretty much an opportunist. I'll head one direction or the other based on ambient conditions or current inspiration but never hesitate to get side-tracked it the opportunity offers.

- DL
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2005, 09:55:00 AM »
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I've recently run into a dilemna that has bee plaguing me for many years now.  The latest was last weekend.  I wanted to be in Tobermory, Ontario (Canada) for sunrise so I could shoot off the point of Big Tub Harbour as the sun's light was skimming across the frozen Bay.  On my way up Highway 6, I could tell it would be a close call as to whether or not I made it in time (I did in the end).  By the time I was north of Wiarton (still about 60 km to go), the dawn was really in full swing, and I was passing trees, barns, fields, etc., all very heavily coated in a beautiful frost, and all of that was backlit by this wonderful warm/cold, hazed dawn.  The colours and scenes were spectacular!  Yet, I "wanted to be in 'Toby' by sunrise" so I passe by all this and kept going.  It took a lot of sitting on hands, but hey, my goal was my goal.  Now, I'm thinking I should have my head read.  Yes, I got some nice stuff up there (I can show some samples later if folks want), but it wasn't anywhere near as good as what I passed up in my hurry to get to my destination.  This isn't the first time this has happened to me!

So, I'd be interested to know - do you folks who are going some place to shoot out of anticipation, do you tend to go head-down and just get there and THEN shoot, or do you stop and get the stuff on the way, even if it means missing the early light at your original destination?  Please note I'm not talking about shooting a particular event or situation (like a sporting event for instance), but something general like scenics where you "suspect" the lighting might be good at your destination.

Thoughts/ideas/comments (including calling me a complete and total dunderhead!  )?

One image I got later that day:


Thanks

Glenn
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2005, 12:52:15 PM »
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Well, this may be a metaphor, but it sums up my idea on the subject.

A young Buddhist monk was out walking when he saw a great Master walking by.  Filled with anticipation, the monk hurried over and asked, "Master, where are you going?"  The old monk looked down, smiled, and replied, "I am going to my place of learning."  The young monk knew him to be a venerable master, and figured that so great a man must have a great learning place.  Pushing aside his anxiety, he asked, "May I join you?"  "Certainly." came the reply.

They walked for a long time, with the young monk's anxious excitement building with every step.  After a very long time, the monk began to wonder if they were EVER going to get there.  Screwing up his courage again, he asked, "Master, when will we get to your place of learning?"  "The old monk swept his arm around him and said, "We are already there."

I once drove through darkness, on wet roads to get to Peggy's Cove for sunrise.  By sunrise it was so foggy it was hard to see more than a few feet.  Spent the morning there anyway, and got some wonderful pictures of the waves, the rocks, my companion,  dew-soaked spider webs and a number of other things.

When I was working in Algonquin Park on moose research, I happened upon two professional photographers who were going out to shoot some pictures of moose.  We didn't see a single moose that day (which is next to impossible), but we did shoot a lot of scenery/ landscape images...

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2005, 05:15:12 PM »
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Due to these considerations I virtually never travel with other people.  The less itinerary constraints and the less social distractions, the better, if photography is the priority for your outing.
Having a photographer along is always a good way to ruin a long walk...

This is really all about making a judgement call at the point in time. Experience will tell you eventually whether it is worth stopping or keeping going. But at the end of the day there will always be the doubt in the back of your mind as to whether you made the right choice.

Some people like the comfort of a single objective, others like to stop and pluck the daisies along the way.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2005, 05:58:01 PM »
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I approach the issue from a slightly different direction.  For me, the travel, and all the stuff along the way, is the main point.  If there's good photography to be had wherever I am, I'll do it, but I'll very rarely choose a place and time specifically for photography.  Rather than get to some "special" place at sunrise or sunset and hang around for hours waiting for the light, I'll be wandering around ten different places, and probably get a shot in one of those ten places that's about as good as those waiting-around photographers.  (And have more fun in the meantime
   )

Lisa
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mikebinok
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2005, 11:13:13 PM »
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One morning I was headed to Mrazek Pond in the Everglades, having my usual early morning empty-headedness.  The only way I'm able to function in that condition is to remain doggedly persistent on the goal--Being someplace with something interesting to shoot generally brings me out of it, but right up till I get there, I am at best semi-intelligent!    

Anyway, I saw a gorgeous purple glow before the Sun came over the horizon, and was passing an area where the glow silhouetted gorgeous palm trees.  I thought about stopping, but didn't, because I 'had to get to Mrazek Pond'.

I've regretted it ever since!  That was an extraordinary situation, but I do agree that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2005, 12:45:04 AM »
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I've given up on the idea of assuming there's always something better somewhere else. While there indeed may be, the odds are pretty good that it'll be gone by the time you actually get there. If you're out shooting and see something noteworthy, stop and shoot it. Even if it's just a few bracketed frames and on you go, you'll probably be glad you did. You may not find anything worthwhile when you get where you're going.
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2005, 05:22:13 AM »
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Life in general works just like photography; better if you live for the moment rather than goals.

AMEN TO THAT my friend!!  That's how I've lived my life, come to think of it, so why the concept of shooting what's actually there has been such a challenge to me (now in the past) is rather beyond me  :p .  Now, just how I'm going to make it through retirement as a result of my lifestyle, is a whole other question  .  Awww heck, bring on the D2X  Cheesy .

Glenn
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2005, 09:15:43 AM »
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Well, the obvious answer is that "it depends".  I ran into this dilemma when I was in Canyon Country for the first time in early December.  For the first couple of days I was stopping endlessly along the roads on my way from one "icon" to another.  Eventually I had to discipline myself - unless there was an explicit "scenic overlook" I keept going, I never would have made it to Zion otherwise.  Extending the trip wasn't an option and a return trip is realistically a couple of years away.

Factor 1: the destination - think about Michael's trip to Bangladesh/Chittagong - it's hard to imaging what kind of scene would have incented the group (late as they were) to stop and photo-graze along the way.  The issue here is how likely are you to be able to get back to that specific destination.  The lower the probability, the higher the stop threshold is going to be.  

Factor 2: the uniqueness of the distraction vs the potential uniqueness of the destination.  How easy would it be to come across the unplanned shot eg frost on trees at a later time, vs the planned destination shot?  But it's still possible to come across that one shot where everything comes together for just a couple of minutes - you can't drive past a diamond just 'cause you're on your way to a pearl.
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Sandfalcon
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2005, 10:35:20 AM »
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A strategy that might help, at least for places which are nearby (however you wish to define that)- get up earlier.  If you really want to reach some location and work that area, but are worried you'll get distracted by good stuff along the way, driving past all that stuff in the dark solves the problem.      And, you get the sunrise while at your goal-location.  This isn't to discount the great shots one sees while just wandering about, but sometimes starting out at what you think will be a photogenic spot and seeing what it has to offer is fun too.  And, for those who don't like getting up at 4:30 a.m., you could always camp or get to the goal during the middle of the day.
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2005, 11:13:35 AM »
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get up earlier

LOL - I got up at 3 A blessed M that morning  :laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh: !!  I think I like your idea of getting there later in the day, and staying over for the night.  A tad more expensive though, if one is to do this on a routine basis.  Seriously though - some good ideas there   .

Tim:  Yeah, it can be a great area to shoot in.  The Cape Hurd Road is one I went down (just south of town) and it's got a couple of nice spots along there.  I started to follow the Little Cove road (opposite the road to the airport off Hwy 6) and it looked promising, but I've got a Civic, and when I came to the area that wasn't ploughed, I wasn't sure I'd make it through to a location I could turn around in.  However, as I backed out of there, a small, similar car did go up there, so I suspect you can make it to the Bay ok.  I think there's a hill at the end though, so if it snows this weekend, be careful of that.  Even right in town is kind of neat if you aren't used to seeing Toby in winter.  Here's a sample:

Tobermory - Winter.

On the way up, if you go through Owen Sound, take the road that goes up along the Sound on the west side (it starts off as Grey 1, but don't cut off where it tells you to).  Go straight through to Kemp, and then go straight at the stop sign in Kemp.  That takes you up a lovely little road that climbs the escarpment pretty directly.  The view back is great, but the road itself for most of its length is really superb (an example of that:  Road out of Kemp.  Follow that until you hit a "T", then do a jog around the lake, turning left at the east end of the lake.  Follow that north, then turn left at the end, and you're in Wiarton.  It's a nice, quiet route, and look out for deer on the road.

Hope that helps, but if you would like more info, email me at my website "Contact" address and I'll get back to you asap.  Perhaps sometime we can make a run together up there.  It can be a terrific place to shoot.

Thanks for the idea on doing the double trip - sounds solid to me   .  

Glenn
PS - if those shots look blown out a bit, I did them on a calibrated monitor at home, but my work monitor is an LCD and not calibrated - on this monitor they look really blown out - FYI)
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didger
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2005, 02:51:24 AM »
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Yeah, Alabama Hills is a fabulous place.  The rock formations are even more interesting than my beloved Joshua Tree Nat. Park (practically my back yard) and also much more colorful (iron oxide and lichens) and of course there's Mt. Whitney and a big portion of the Sierra Nevada in the background.  There's easy access to everything on a good system of 2WD dirt roads and you can camp anywhere (BLM land).  I've spent about 10 days there so far this year and I'm hoping one of these days I'll catch fresh snow on the ground.  That's a little rare at that altitude and it melts fast, especially off the vegetation.  I missed the big opportunity earlier this year because my camper roof leaked very badly.

In any case, if you're going through Lone Pine and you have time, a little side trip to Alabama Hills (on the road to Whitney Portal) will be very well rewarded.  

Incidentally, the arch in the picture is the best known and largest one that everybody phototgraphs, but there's lots of others, including one just a few steps North of the main one.  This smaller second arch is a little hard to photograph.  You need an ultrawide lens and a very weird tripod configuration and laying down in a weird position to look into your viewfinder because there's so little room behind the arch.  It's worth the hassle, though.

In your picture you probably should have bracketed and blended to bring out more shadow detail and color in the arch.  I took at least 50 shots of this arch at various times of the day on different days and I did numerous bracketed shots and also a few for stitching for greater resolution.  My Alabama Hills collection is a serious storage hit and I'm not done there yet!!

I also combine going to specific places and wandering around as long as I feel like wherever I feel like since I do practically nothing but photography these days.  But this is a little hard for folks with debts and family obligations and such to manage.
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paulbk
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2005, 07:04:29 PM »
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re: “most masterpieces are fortuitous”

Heard on National Public Radio today in a discussion about art. I forgot the details of the discussion, but this point stuck because it explains my experience with photography (and life in general). Michael R. has made similar comments in his writings on this site. It’s rare when mirror lockup, remote shutter, a stiff tripod, and weeks of planning captures a shot that holds my attention in print. Some of my best shots are hand held out the window at the speed limit.

paul
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paul b. kramarchyk
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« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2005, 03:06:00 AM »
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I think the point of this thread is that great shots happen independent of the photographer. No one, including David Muench and Ansel Adams, can say I will capture a great shot today. Nor can they say I will capture a great shot tomorrow. At best, the photographer can prepare for a great shot *if* the opportunity arises. Of course scouting and planning helps, be at the right place at the right time with the right equipment and skill. But as Glenn said, the conditions at his destination were not as good as what he passed up in his rush to get there. You take your shots where you find them. And if you have a day job, you often find them out the window.
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paul b. kramarchyk
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2005, 06:54:30 AM »
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Me-thinks you hit the nail on the head about life DL  Smiley .  I think it was John Lennon who penned the words, "Life is what happens while you're busy making plans."  I now adopt the philosophy of "getting while the getting is good", although there will be times when I'll need to get somewhere first, I'm sure.  It's an interesting dilemma, but maybe not so much a real dilemma after all  Smiley .

Nice shot Bobby!

Glenn
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