"Photograph things you care about, not what you think others want to see. There is no substitution for passion." —Sarah Rice

Photography DiscussionHypothetical: On a stroll with companion(s), How Much Time Do or Can You Take to Compose and Shoot?

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Primus
Mentoris Primus
Posts: 1841
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Hypothetical: On a stroll with companion(s), How Much Time Do or Can You Take to Compose and Shoot?

Post by Charles Haacker » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:07 pm

Well, here's the usual far-too-long-winded-intro: This subject intrigues me since I posted "Death in the Afternoon," a single quick-and-dirty shot made on a casual walk with my wife. I took no time with it. Daphne was walking on ahead. I saw it, backlit (There Is No Light...), framed it, shot it, and walked on so I didn't have to hurry. The consensus so far seems to be that's it's fair-to-middlin', a decent grab shot. The camera that made it was a higher-end point-and-shoot (Nikon P5000) but any more I like to keep any camera in a fairly ready condition, usually aperture priority for control of depth of field, "floating" ISO to insure reasonably high enough shutter to prevent smearing and allowing me to grab the shot without spending a lot of time fussing about whether I am in bright sun or open shade. But not so very long ago a canny pro could do much the same with any camera with no automation at all, just by paying attention.

What got me musing about this is the fact that I don't usually stop to think much about a shot. I have a strong background, lots of professional experience, especially since many years of shooting weddings and public relations trains one to frame and shoot fast because the situations are fluid. Daphne and I traveled and walked and conversed and enjoyed, and as something would catch my eye I might stop for a few seconds, usually at most, frame, shoot, move on. I like to think I'm still pretty good at it, but I am framing and composing largely on instinct, and frankly the "rule" of thirds if I am following any "rule" at all.

I don't think I have ever been on a photo walk, but I bet lots of you have (and I really ought to find one), and it strikes me that it's likely that you haven't much time to think about framing or composition, especially if you are at all uncertain of settings (!!!) which really get in the way. (My personal solution to that conundrum is to take as much advantage of modern automation as possible, but I also like to kid myself that I know my business and can override where needed.) The instructor may make a few comments while folks are shooting whatever so there's that pause, but surely folks see a shot while trying to stay with the group, so if you shoot it has to be fast...

So, you're strolling along, camera in hand, chatting comfortably, maybe even on a formal photo walk: how much time can or do you take to make a picture before you have to scramble to catch up, and what percentage of successes or failures do you think you get as a result of feeling pressured, or not?
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
St3v3M
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 4300
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:02 am
Location: 35,000 feet
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by St3v3M » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:34 pm

My honest answer is it depends, but in truth this is where I fail.

Most of the people I know are not into photography so when I'm with them it's pretty much their agenda and if I happen to see a shot it's more than likely they will continue on with me chasing behind. It happened once where I took the best street-portrait I ever had, but they were so far down the road I didn't have time for another. It's annoying in some ways, but in others I realize I give up my rights as a photographer when I'm in a crowd, it's not what they are out for and if I want it that bad I can usually come back again another day when I have more time to make the image the way I want it to be.

Can I stop to take a photo, yes, but do they wait, almost never.

You asked too about Photo Walks, and while I highly recommend them they may not be what you expect them to be, at least mine. I was in Santa Monica with Trey Ratcliff and what felt like a thousand other people so I was pretty excited, but as soon as we started I realized it was better to stick with him and get the occasional shot than fall behind taking the perfect shot. I was there to learn, not to shoot, that was a bonus, and while others were off composing I was soaking it all in.

With all that said, I think it depends on you and what you are trying to get out of the moment.
- Are you there to shoot or to enjoy another's company? You can do both, but sometimes you have to decide.

I hope this helps! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

User avatar
Duck
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 2517
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:31 am
Location: Shelton, CT
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by Duck » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:06 pm

Wow, Charles, this is an awesome question. I don't think there are easy answers to this one, though.

I have led many photo walks so I can relate. I usually give my instructions as we walk, usually setting up a challenge or a technique for students to attempt. I also walk with my head on a pivot and will interrupt any lesson for a photo op. NYC has been one of my more successful walks I've led.

If I am walking in good conversational company the camera typically takes a back seat. For me, conversation trumps image making. Something really pretty or with a wow factor has to present itself for me to pull from that kind of company. Depending on the level of wow I'll try to get the people around me involved since it's better to have accomplices rather than bystanders. Even then, I am cognizant of the time lapse and tend to rush a bit. I then tend to default to the easy compositions and the tried and true techniques.

On a photowalk, that's a whole different animal. I am surrounded by like minded individuals and what I've found is that if someone spots something of interest others will join in the moment. Those that aren't feeling it tend to wander a bit away and find something else of interest. For the most part, though, everyone stays together and enjoys the company, the conversation and the collaboration. If I am leading the group I often tend to purposely slow people down because I know the tendency is to rush things.

Where it gets awkward for me is when I am out with my camera and a non-photographer decides to join me. My attention then gets divided and I feel compelled to entertain them rather than concentrate on what I'm doing. This tends to happen more often than I care to. A similar situation also happens to me if I join someone else's group. Instead of getting time to myself to grab a shot or two here and there I tend to get surrounded by novices looking for leadership. It's flattering, yes, but also frustrating since I can't concentrate on my own thing. Which is sad because I tend to avoid joining other events for that reason.

In all these situations I understand there will be some kind of trade off. If the event I'm witnessing is a one time deal I will usually take a little more time with it. If it's something that will be there tomorrow or next week, I'll take a cursory documentary shot and explore that at a later time, when I feel less pressured. Well, the reality is I have way too many of those "return to" shots for my liking, but they are there for when the mood strikes.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Image ImageImageImageImage

User avatar
Matt Quinn
Mentoris Maximus
Mentoris Maximus
Posts: 2554
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:12 pm
Location: MD in winter: Cape Cod in summer
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:48 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:07 pm
Well, here's the usual far-too-long-winded-intro: This subject intrigues me since I posted "Death in the Afternoon," a single quick-and-dirty shot made on a casual walk with my wife. I took no time with it. Daphne was walking on ahead. I saw it, backlit (There Is No Light...), framed it, shot it, and walked on so I didn't have to hurry. The consensus so far seems to be that's it's fair-to-middlin', a decent grab shot. The camera that made it was a higher-end point-and-shoot (Nikon P5000) but any more I like to keep any camera in a fairly ready condition, usually aperture priority for control of depth of field, "floating" ISO to insure reasonably high enough shutter to prevent smearing and allowing me to grab the shot without spending a lot of time fussing about whether I am in bright sun or open shade. But not so very long ago a canny pro could do much the same with any camera with no automation at all, just by paying attention.

What got me musing about this is the fact that I don't usually stop to think much about a shot. I have a strong background, lots of professional experience, especially since many years of shooting weddings and public relations trains one to frame and shoot fast because the situations are fluid. Daphne and I traveled and walked and conversed and enjoyed, and as something would catch my eye I might stop for a few seconds, usually at most, frame, shoot, move on. I like to think I'm still pretty good at it, but I am framing and composing largely on instinct, and frankly the "rule" of thirds if I am following any "rule" at all.

I don't think I have ever been on a photo walk, but I bet lots of you have (and I really ought to find one), and it strikes me that it's likely that you haven't much time to think about framing or composition, especially if you are at all uncertain of settings (!!!) which really get in the way. (My personal solution to that conundrum is to take as much advantage of modern automation as possible, but I also like to kid myself that I know my business and can override where needed.) The instructor may make a few comments while folks are shooting whatever so there's that pause, but surely folks see a shot while trying to stay with the group, so if you shoot it has to be fast...

So, you're strolling along, camera in hand, chatting comfortably, maybe even on a formal photo walk: how much time can or do you take to make a picture before you have to scramble to catch up, and what percentage of successes or failures do you think you get as a result of feeling pressured, or not?
Charles,

Man, have you pressed a button! Family squabbles galore as I pause on the beach or on a walk to photo them or one of the grands, but they give thanks later when they see the photo. They tolerate me but don't miss me because I am a terrible conversationalist -- I listen more than I talk. They don't wait; I eventually catch up.

With my wife, however, the situation is way different; she has no patience and fumes if I pause to take a photo and spend more than 10 seconds to do so. That prompts me to go out on my own, or to wander in the mall while she is shopping. The only photos she likes are of the grands; she dismisses the others.

I never went to kindergarten, so I never learned to "play well with others." I had a meet-up with another photographer from "that other site" to take some photos at Cape Cod. I learned nothing, suggested a few locations for shots; we spoke very little; I left early. We never got together again.

My other experience was with an instructor and two other students on Cape Cod. We had hustled across some wetlands at low tide into a dense forrest and tramped around for a few early-morning hours. I always felt the pressure of not wanting to delay the others so I hurried my shots; only one turned out to my satisfaction. I have hoped to go back on my own, but the best laid plan...

So, I guess I do better walking alone when I have my camera, and, when with others, walking without my camera and taking mental pictures.

My effort at peace on earth.

Matt
Matt Quinn

"...approach the light as opposed to the subject." Stan Godwin

User avatar
LindaShorey
Mentoris Secundus
Mentoris Secundus
Posts: 1398
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:50 am
Location: Yakima, WA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by LindaShorey » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:31 pm

I have several experiences:

1. With a camera club in 1990, we went out at night with tripods. Unfortunately, the only thing I remember is, "Do you know you can make people disappear from the shot if the shutter speed is slow enough?" :)

2. With a birder-turned-photographer; she was willing to wait for something to happen, or to turn around the car and go back where we came from because an eagle overhead was flying that direction...whereas I was always about "Let's see what is around the next corner!"

3. With a painter-turned-photographer. If I noticed her stopping to photograph something I had just passed, I would go look over her shoulder and try to see the close-up or scene through her eyes because I knew she brought a lot to the table with her artistic sense of composition.

4. With non-photographer friends who took me to visit Mt Saint Helens. They knew I would be taking a lot of photos, but there were several times I did indeed feel rushed. This was unfortunate because I can never again get that FIRST experience - the one of complete awe of what I was seeing 33 years after the eruption.

There is also a left brain/right brain thing going on: even if someone appears to be totally OK with however long I want to take at a spot, if they talk to me, I can't concentrate. I need to be able to get into that "instinct" mode you speak of, Chuck. The more I think about a composition, the more I work a scene, usually the less happy I am. Off-topic, but I do want to say that familiarity with a subject, such as my hops fields, can contribute a great deal to the success of instinctive shots IMO.

Thanks for a super topic!
"What's important in a photograph and what isn't." http://photographylife.com/whats-import ... -what-isnt

User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Magister
Mentoris Magister
Posts: 3712
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by minniev » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:43 pm

Wow, what an interesting discussion!

I'm most often alone or with my husband when I'm shooting. He is a non-photographer and not very patient, usually in a hurry to get back to where we started from, or look for food, and he prefers guided tours to self-exploring - so mostly I'm just taking snapshots when we're out and about. Sometimes I'll broker for a bit of dedicated photo time on our adventures, and when I do I prepare in advance (prepare him and prepare for shooting whatever it is I'm expecting to shoot). He is very good at spotting birds and animals though, and he likes for me to take pictures of them. Everything else, I think he finds kinda boring.

When I'm with another photographer it's different. I've had multi-day shoots with a local photo buddy Anita, with Dave Chinn, Graham Smith, St3v3M, even with people I've met when traveling,and all of them were are so easy to be with. We were/are very flexible, shooting same or different subjects, wandering off on our own then back together again. Anita and I travel for up to two weeks at a time together, and it's like a two week workshop with us learning together and from each other.

I'm often disappointed (maybe 70% of the time) with the hurried photos I take, because once I look at them I know they could have been so much better, and they are often from beautiful places I'll never see again. My trip to Holland made me crazy because everything was so photogenic, but on a tour you are hustled about in buses and let out for brief intervals where you have to rush to keep up, so even snapshots aren't always possible. It was my husband's dream vacation, and I enjoyed the sights and the fun of traveling together, but the photography drove me mad.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Primus
Mentoris Primus
Posts: 1841
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Charles Haacker » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:26 pm

St3v3M wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:34 pm
My honest answer is it depends, but in truth this is where I fail.

Most of the people I know are not into photography so when I'm with them it's pretty much their agenda and if I happen to see a shot it's more than likely they will continue on with me chasing behind. It happened once where I took the best street-portrait I ever had, but they were so far down the road I didn't have time for another. It's annoying in some ways, but in others I realize I give up my rights as a photographer when I'm in a crowd, it's not what they are out for and if I want it that bad I can usually come back again another day when I have more time to make the image the way I want it to be.

Can I stop to take a photo, yes, but do they wait, almost never.

You asked too about Photo Walks, and while I highly recommend them they may not be what you expect them to be, at least mine. I was in Santa Monica with Trey Ratcliff and what felt like a thousand other people so I was pretty excited, but as soon as we started I realized it was better to stick with him and get the occasional shot than fall behind taking the perfect shot. I was there to learn, not to shoot, that was a bonus, and while others were off composing I was soaking it all in.

With all that said, I think it depends on you and what you are trying to get out of the moment.
- Are you there to shoot or to enjoy another's company? You can do both, but sometimes you have to decide.

I hope this helps! S-
Yes, Steve, it helps! I am also learning from all the posts so far that I've been very lucky! Daphne was very, very tolerant of my stopping to shoot the roses. She liked to carry a camera herself (which reminds me that I have to try to find some of her pictures which will be in boxes someplace having moved several times. She never got much into digital).
ImageDaphne with her Zeiss Ikon Contaflex by Charles Haacker, on Flickr ImageMom and Daphne on Barnegat Beach by Charles Haacker, on Flickr ImageTidal Basin, Washington, DC, 1975 by Charles Haacker, on Flickr ImageFourth of July, 1976, Bicentennial by Charles Haacker, on Flickr
On our frequent walks she would often stroll on ahead while I stopped, but I never stopped long, and most of the time when I caught up it was because she also had stopped to admire something . When I am with my "Kidz" they are also very tolerant of my brief stops (and the whole point is that I try to keep them as brief as possible), plus towing a 2-1/2-year-old they are never in a hurry anyway. Often they are my subjects, or at least in the picture.

On the subject of photo walks, I just this afternoon sent an email to the Lincoln Camera Club (since 1933). I don't know if they conduct photo walks but the main thing is that I think it's high time I got socially involved with someone outside of immediate family, and a camera club might be a good place to start. (Y)
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
St3v3M
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 4300
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:02 am
Location: 35,000 feet
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by St3v3M » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:45 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:26 pm
...
On the subject of photo walks, I just this afternoon sent an email to the Lincoln Camera Club (since 1933). I don't know if they conduct photo walks but the main thing is that I think it's high time I got socially involved with someone outside of immediate family, and a camera club might be a good place to start. (Y)
You are blessed and you are loved, share that with others! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

User avatar
Matt Quinn
Mentoris Maximus
Mentoris Maximus
Posts: 2554
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:12 pm
Location: MD in winter: Cape Cod in summer
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Matt Quinn » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:57 pm

I second Steve's comment. Matt
Matt Quinn

"...approach the light as opposed to the subject." Stan Godwin

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Primus
Mentoris Primus
Posts: 1841
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Charles Haacker » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:48 am

Duck wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:06 pm
Wow, Charles, this is an awesome question. I don't think there are easy answers to this one, though.

I have led many photo walks so I can relate. I usually give my instructions as we walk, usually setting up a challenge or a technique for students to attempt. I also walk with my head on a pivot and will interrupt any lesson for a photo op. NYC has been one of my more successful walks I've led.

If I am walking in good conversational company the camera typically takes a back seat. For me, conversation trumps image making. Something really pretty or with a wow factor has to present itself for me to pull from that kind of company. Depending on the level of wow I'll try to get the people around me involved since it's better to have accomplices rather than bystanders. Even then, I am cognizant of the time lapse and tend to rush a bit. I then tend to default to the easy compositions and the tried and true techniques.

On a photowalk, that's a whole different animal. I am surrounded by like minded individuals and what I've found is that if someone spots something of interest others will join in the moment. Those that aren't feeling it tend to wander a bit away and find something else of interest. For the most part, though, everyone stays together and enjoys the company, the conversation and the collaboration. If I am leading the group I often tend to purposely slow people down because I know the tendency is to rush things.

Where it gets awkward for me is when I am out with my camera and a non-photographer decides to join me. My attention then gets divided and I feel compelled to entertain them rather than concentrate on what I'm doing. This tends to happen more often than I care to. A similar situation also happens to me if I join someone else's group. Instead of getting time to myself to grab a shot or two here and there I tend to get surrounded by novices looking for leadership. It's flattering, yes, but also frustrating since I can't concentrate on my own thing. Which is sad because I tend to avoid joining other events for that reason.

In all these situations I understand there will be some kind of trade off. If the event I'm witnessing is a one time deal I will usually take a little more time with it. If it's something that will be there tomorrow or next week, I'll take a cursory documentary shot and explore that at a later time, when I feel less pressured. Well, the reality is I have way too many of those "return to" shots for my liking, but they are there for when the mood strikes.
Thanks so much for weighing in, Duck. I think overall you reinforce the notion that, if you want to really literally focus on photography it may be best overall to do it alone, or maybe with just a few other like-minded folks (I don't know how many might be too many on a photo walk). I've mentioned already that I feel lucky to have had the company of my wife who also enjoyed photography, and my son and his wife don't mind slowing down a little (a 2-1/2 YO is for sure the slowest vessel in the convoy anyway). Nevertheless I always try to have a camera with me 'cuz ya never know. And as you know the cameras I favor don't tend to attract maybe some of the folks that may've intruded on you. And I've had some shots I thought were pretty successful. I can't recall if I've ever shown this one:
ImageWhite Sands Sunset by Charles Haacker, on Flickr
This was a sunset ranger walk on the White Sands in New Mexico. Daphne was doing really well but this was a final climb up a pretty steep dune just as the sun was disappearing. I had her hand in my left and my little Nikon P7800 in my right. I was helping her up the slope when I saw it. Everything was in motion: us; the rest of the crowd; the sun, all moving at the same time so that if I was going to get it at all, it was going to be a literal one-handed grab without even bringing the camera to my eye (thank goodness for 3-inch displays). This was not a photo walk so there was no question of holding up the war. I felt and still feel incredibly lucky, not only to have made the shot, but to have had Daphne to share the moment with. It turned out to be kind of the sunset of her life and she got to see it, and I got to photograph it with her. Pretty sweet deal. (Y)
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests