Philosophy About 'Stroll Photography'

Early 2012 I, Wouter Brandsma, mentioned a kind photography in a topic that is thoughtful, personal, but without the need for going to a destination with a plan. A kind of photography where the process of taking photographs could become the destination. The SeriousCompacts team (Amin and the moderators) realized that a lot of what belongs in one forum could also go in another, but they thought a lot of members would find it liberating to post in a designated category without the constrains of the familiar genres. So they asked me to write a "sticky" explaining what this kind of photography actually is.

I know for sure many photographers witnessed the following. You've tried several photographic genres. You felt the excitement of learning something new. Landscape, portrait, street photography, you name it. Fueled by the enthusiasm of others and famous photography blogs you started full throttle. But each and everyone of these genres require dedication, time, preparation, attitude, specific gear, and so many other things. You need to practice a lot, because you want to be good at it. It involves planning and traveling. You have to become familiar with your gear, conquer your fear, basically leave your comfort zone. And this gives pressure, because all too often we don't live near Bryce Canyon, Cornwall, New York, Hongkong, or have a studio at home. The pressure to perform slowly changes your mindset. You don't want to photograph your subject, but you have to photograph it. Your passion changes into an obsession.

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Bang, struck, dissolution, frustrated. You lose your creativity, your inspiration, and nothing seems to work. "Doldrums", as I like to call these photographic ruts. And there it is, in between the extremes of pushing yourself in a specific genre and not be able to free up time anymore is an unlabeled kind of photography. A kind of photography to actually appreciate the process of taking photographs, seeing a moment, even if the time available is minimal. Yet this photography is serious and thoughtful, but unlike anything else unplanned, unstaged. It requires no demands, no particular subject, just you with your camera. And all you need to do is to just go out, stroll around.

I learned this in 2011 when I started my photo a day project. Most of the photographs I took were taken within a close range to my home and work. I just had to take a stroll. 5 or 30 minutes, sometimes even less. In or around my house, a nearby park, a desolate street. Therefore I called it "Stroll Photography".

So here it is, a sub-forum within the image threads for your ungenred, unlabeled, yet thoughtful and personal photographs.
This is a very interesting point and when I really think about it I guess I would also consider myself a "stroll photographer" as I find it challenging to classify what type of genre does my shooting style fall under. Most of the time I like to shoot street photography but there are times that my mind set is is really in tune with taking portraits, sometimes landscapes, and sometimes abstract. Generally I just take a photo depending on what I am feeling at the time without too much thought on what genre will it fit in to as I take images as a way of expressing myself.

So here's to us Stroll Photographers! :drinks:
Thank you Wouter. This is how I originally began photographing about three years ago and then.. it changed as I got into forums and competitions etc. In my effort to learn more because I was new at everything I kept veering off in different directions, which is fine, but they weren't my own. You have to walk your own path and while I am probably interpreting this too philosophically, I totally understand the concept of getting out there and letting the world pull you along. That is my favorite 'genre':)
That is my favorite 'genre':)
Mine too. I sometimes find having to shoot a particular kind of image stifling in a way. I don't do competitions very often now, and if I do, its only those that let you use stuff from your archives. Chances are that one *will* have shot the appropriate image at some time... just not this month/week/whatever.
Wouter .. your timing is perfect. With short daylight hours in winter, I think we all experience photographic doldrums. I must say though, even with your casual Stroll Photography, you've set the bar very high with your introductory image. A very moody image .. I love it.
I think I said this before when you wrote about your strolling photography, Wouter...but I'll say it again. It feels like home to me. Many thanks for putting this all into words.
When I first wrote about stroll photography on blog I said I was proud to be a stroll photographer. My blog displays these stroll photographs, but it is just great that you guys felt the need for a hangout to share and talk about it too. And Arie, it is absolutely not my intention set the bar high. I might only do so for myself. We all have different goals and different ways to achieve it. But like I wrote in the sticky I think it matters most when it is still thoughtful and personal.
Well, it seems this topic needs a boost.

My first photo is from a stroll in our one-light downtown area, the most exciting thing here is the old architecture, and other like things.
A place I Stroll about looking for interesting compositions after I park my truck.

This was at night down a short side-street (alley)

CC14-Lr--031-2015 May 07-20150507_211354- Bike Night Camby-+DTWN Morresville at Ngt
by Peter Arbib -My General Galleries, on Flickr

This photo was a 1m walk from my apt. Near the dog-park (you know, bring a bag w/you)...
This mushroom only lasted one day in it's full glory!

CC-Lr-027-2015 Jul 19-DSCF9681-open mushroom-XE2-XF35+2
by Peter Arbib -My General Galleries, on Flickr
Very nice "topic-boost", Arbib!

I totally agree that "stroll-photography" is one of the nicest kinds of photography for most of us, who are taking photographs simply for the fun of it. :)
You're not limiting yourself to a "genre"... you're not narrowing you're view on a particular subject... the surprise of what you're going to find is a big part of the enjoyment.

To misquote Forrest Gump: : "...stroll photography is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." ;)
Same here. I love to explore the woods and countryside, and carry a camera whether I'm on my bike or scrambling up and down our steep hills. I always look for interesting flora, but I never know just what will catch my eye.
Couple of image posts moved to the corresponding 'Gallery' thread...

This thread moved out of the 'Gallery' forum and over to 'Photography Chat'....
Love your discription of stroll photograpy.
Life is a kind of a photography stroll with disappointments and sudden unexpected successes. After trying several cameras, formats and lenses I nowadays use a GX880 with the PA12-32 for strolls. In addition I have a extension tube always with me to have the macro possibility.

What is your favorite stroll gear ?
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Strolling is my favourite mode of movement *and* photography. It's really a wonderful way of experiencing the world and airing your mind at the same time. Images taken in that mood tend to have an intimacy, an authenticity to them that makes even the mundane appear worthy of attention (which, in many ways, it obviously is, but we are bound to overlook them when hurrying past, submitting ourselves to the daily grind). It's as even everything opens up and offers to speak to you ...

Less poetically, it's just a great way to combine the needful with the uplifting (utile com dulci, as the Romans put it). I think that many of the shots you take when photo walking in this manner will convey the frame of mind they were created in.

@Rambazamba73 In my personal experience, stroll photography is pretty gear independent, but light and/or simple gear is to be preferred - which usually just means one camera, one lens for me, prime or zoom (I personally tend to pick primes over zooms for photo walks, but I wouldn't say zooms are in any way detrimental); compacts are fine, too. Most of my favourite combos were more or less picked specifically because they are eminently suitable for strolling - which I do with my camera in the hand, not in the bag or on a strap. The only specific asset that I can think of that makes a combo "better" than others is an ability to get really close - which means that at the moment, I tend to prefer the Nikon Z fc, either with its congenial Z 28mm f/2.8 SE kit lens or with the wonderful Voigtländer 23mm f/1.2 attached over most other setups; the Z 6 with Z 40mm f/2 attached comes in a close second. If you want to go nerdy (and slightly quirky) as well, a Ricoh GR of any description fits the bill - and is a fantastic camera in its own right, anyway (if you can live with its feature set). But honestly, apart from the difference in close-up ability, you can pick whatever you have - just keep it nice and simple.