Philosophy Are you a "on location" or "all-the-way" shooter?

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Somerset, UK
Name
Ovi
I've been having this conversation in my head for some time now. For me it has been as long as I remember a curiosity to look at the world as much as I can. 99% of the time I have my camera in my hand looking for opportunities anywhere, out on the streets, walking through forests, hiking and climbing.
Sometimes there are different reasons, for example when I do street photography my attention flies constantly around me because I can't people very well, but when I'm in the great outdoors I am hyper focused on subjects or ideas I would like to do, be it wildlife or landscape.

I have never managed to be on location photographer type. Carry the gear in the backpack, stop where you find your shot, deploy and wait for your shot before packing and moving on (approximately). I will try to slow down a bit this coming autumn because I want to use the tripod, filters and slower shutter speeds.

The only "proper" examples I can think of (from YouTube as I don't fallow that many photographers) is Tomas Heaton, he goes to a location, scouts his composition and sticks with the shot he wants ... Much like Gavin. James Popsys (sorry if I spelled your name wrong) is more shoot on the go, which has been my mindset, always looking for a shot and rarely dedicating a looong time for an image.

I'm not here to say one is better then the other, just hoping to spark a conversation on how you prefer to shot and why.

(I am looking into replacing my backpack and this has been a major consideration for what to look for. I don't personally get the non quick access backpacks outside of event and portrait photographers because I would always want to have a camera in my hand and quick access to swap lenses).
 
I went on a trip to Castleton last weekend, and my camera never left my hand, even walking up steep hills. I'm a documentarian at heart - I want to capture the whole process, enjoy the smaller details and the changing scenery of a day. I also feel I have to keep photographing in order to capture the candid moments I enjoy - my family smiling together, friends helping each other over a wall while rambling, my partner enjoying a view. I wouldn't get those moments if I only pulled out my camera once to do a perfectly composed shot.

Perhaps as I grow as a photographer I'll stop taking as many photos and start to be more discerning - but equally perhaps I won't.

No camera bag system is perfect, but the one that's working for me at the mo is a Tenba BYOB 10 camera insert and a Decathlon 2 compartment rucksack. The BYOB insert fits into the top compartment of the rucksack along with a jacket, and I can use the bottom section for a lunchbox and other gubbins I need on a day out.

I went for the shoulder bag style insert rather than the other BYOB type because then I have the option to just take out the camera bag if I'm only going out for a short trip or to a party/meal. I also have the option to wear it and the rucksack at the same time, meaning I have easy access to my lenses most of the time, but can also stow the whole camera bag if the hike gets particularly tough or the weather turns.

This two bag system also works as a minimal travel setup for flights - the rucksack is within size constraints for carry-on baggage, and the camera bag is "personal item" sized. Space was tight, but it worked on my 9 day trip to South Africa in March.
 
Following your definition, I'm "all-the-way" all the way. However, that doesn't stop me from enjoying many "on location" or even "on assignment" opportunities - they offer a completely different, but equally intruiging combination of opportunities and necessary skill sets.

I'll also echo Charles' post above here: As long as you take the time to at least look at each shot in order to see if and what you can make of it, you'll always benefit from having taken a shot. It may even encourage you to try and take a shot again (if possible - of course, street shots aren't). We grow with experience - in any case, by the way; it's not like conscious learning, you just get gradually better at what you do, even if the improvements may be minute (and/or only visible/tangible to yourself).

When I'm out with a camera, I just keep my eyes open - and since I love to focus on small, overlooked details, I can get into the flow almost immediately. It's bliss, it really is. That's why I've made it one of the most important parts of my day - a little be of quality time that I can also use to create something I can show for my "troubles" ...

If you're interested in on-location shooting, I'd try that for a change - it's how things get started. I myself can't be bothered to even carry a tripod anymore - I'm so likely not to use it that it'd be tantamount to self-inflicted injuries (less dramatically put, risking lumbago for nothing) to have one with me. That said, I do use tripods at events, regularily. But to me, when out and about, the experience is as important as the image - truth be told, I'd much rather miss the latter than the former, so, whatever impacts the experience negatively is best left behind. And if you can't leave it behind because it's part of you, try to harness it: Fokus on the process that appeals most to you, make yourself just that little bit happier by not trying the wrong thing (for you) too hard.

M.
 
Following your definition, I'm "all-the-way" all the way. However, that doesn't stop me from enjoying many "on location" or even "on assignment" opportunities - they offer a completely different, but equally intruiging combination of opportunities and necessary skill sets.

I'll also echo Charles' post above here: As long as you take the time to at least look at each shot in order to see if and what you can make of it, you'll always benefit from having taken a shot. It may even encourage you to try and take a shot again (if possible - of course, street shots aren't). We grow with experience - in any case, by the way; it's not like conscious learning, you just get gradually better at what you do, even if the improvements may be minute (and/or only visible/tangible to yourself).

When I'm out with a camera, I just keep my eyes open - and since I love to focus on small, overlooked details, I can get into the flow almost immediately. It's bliss, it really is. That's why I've made it one of the most important parts of my day - a little be of quality time that I can also use to create something I can show for my "troubles" ...

If you're interested in on-location shooting, I'd try that for a change - it's how things get started. I myself can't be bothered to even carry a tripod anymore - I'm so likely not to use it that it'd be tantamount to self-inflicted injuries (less dramatically put, risking lumbago for nothing) to have one with me. That said, I do use tripods at events, regularily. But to me, when out and about, the experience is as important as the image - truth be told, I'd much rather miss the latter than the former, so, whatever impacts the experience negatively is best left behind. And if you can't leave it behind because it's part of you, try to harness it: Fokus on the process that appeals most to you, make yourself just that little bit happier by not trying the wrong thing (for you) too hard.

M.
You expressed that so well Matt. Thank you
 
Last year, I went on a photo trip with a "on location" photographer friend, while I am thoroughly an "all-the-way" kind of guy. It was a bit of an awkward contrast, to say the least: he put up his tripod and stayed put in one location, sometimes for hours on end, while I flitted around the space, tried out different things, and essentially never stood still for more than a moment. I probably got a bit annoyed at times, and moved on alone once or twice. Perhaps I am not a patient man.

I always had my camera on hand, ready to react to opportunities everywhere. My cameras are consequently small(ish) Fujis with none-too-big lenses. He had his big Nikon DSLRs with the hugest bestest lenses available, which really only make sense on a tripod, and otherwise stayed in the backpack.

I think we both learned some things from the experience.
 
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Last year, I went on a photo trip with a "on location" photographer friend, while I am thoroughly an "all-the-way" kind of guy. It was a bit of an awkward contrast, to say the least: he put up his tripod and stayed put in one location, sometimes for hours on end, while I flitted around the space, tried out different things, and essentially never stood still for more than a moment. I probably got a bit annoyed at times, and moved on alone once or twice. Perhaps I am not a patient man.

I always had my camera on hand, ready to react to opportunities everywhere. My cameras are consequently small(ish) Fujis with none-too-big lenses. He had his big Nikon DSLRs with the hugest bestest lenses available, which really only make sense on a tripod, and otherwise stayed in the backpack.

I think we both learned some things from the experience.
I feel much the same. I don't go looking for images, I find them everywhere all the time (though most of them are not as good/great).
But I do understand the idea and desire to wait for the perfect light, to hunt for the perfect composition. I may slow down once life settles and I get real time for photography and can travel again to do landscape images. At the moment photography is more like a small break at work, I get a bit of time to do it but it's always gone/done before you notice.
 
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I'm a wander-around type, and I will usually try to pick the camera to take with me based on where I'm expecting to be and what kind of activity I'm expecting to do. There's a bit difference between slipping the GRIIIx into a pocket versus hanging the heavy K-1 II over my shoulder on a strap (I have a camera backpack by Brevite which actually pretty good, but it needs to be seriously photography-focused for that, which it usually isn't). I guess I am always looking to combine two activities; I almost never go out strictly to photograph something. Maybe I should try to start thinking in those terms, and come up with some subjects I can plan more for.

Street photography for me is 3/4 about the photography and 1/2 about seeing the sights and people around me. Yes, I know that adds up to 1 and 1/4, or 125%, but I'm sticking with it.
 
Rather than 'all the way' I'd say I'm 'as I go'. I shoot as I move, and although I may go to locations expecting to find great photo opportunities I'm not going to set up there for several minutes, let alone a couple of hours, waiting for the right light, the moment, the action.

See, shoot, move on. There's so much to see and those lovely patient careful photographers that'll camp for four days to see a pine marten mean I can catch up later on the bits I didn't spot live.
 
I'm always on the move, and the camera is always out. I've watched videos where the guy straps on a backpack and headlamp and hikes in the dark through a bog to photograph that special tree at sunrise. Then he hikes back out, I guess.

I can respect that. He's taking this craft seriously. But honestly, I've looked and there are very few special trees. And the sun comes up every day, everywhere.

I tend to look for adequate trees in special light. With a little practice, special light is easier to find than you think. Much easier to find than a special tree. Have your camera out when it happens.
 
I just take the camera with me all the time, and take what comes my way. It's amazing how much you'll find when you start looking, and how much you'll learn about non-photography things in that process. I prefer taking candid shots of people over staged as well. They both have their place, but I more prefer to capture life as it is as opposed to how we wish it was. ;)
 
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