Do You?

Believe it or not I plan most posts – but this morning I woke up with a range of photography related questions bouncing around in my head, so I thought I would quickly post them and see where your thoughts lay with them?

Do you ……….. Leave your Tripod packed and ready to go, or set up and ready to use?

Up until recently I have kept both of my tripods set up and ready to use. Now this may sound weird as it meant that everytime I wanted to go out and take photographs I would need to pack them up, but as I tended to take a lot of pictures (and video) of Moreno, the Doves, or the view from the apartment I found it easier to leave the tripods set up.

The other day I packed them both away a) as I was taking one out to use and b) because I am trying to de clutter and tidy up my life, so now I have a dilemma. Do I leave them packed and ready to go, or do I set them up so I can use them at anytime around the apartment.

Do you ……….. Leave all your equipment in a bag, or have it to hand?

I don’t have my camera bag yet (my Mother Skyped me yesterday to say it is in the post and looks great though) so this is a little theoretical at the moment BUT I used to keep all my lenses and flash in their protective cases, which was a pain when I wanted to use them quickly, but was great when I wanted to throw them in a bag to go out shooting. I got fed up with that though and now they all sit on a shelf in my study so I can grab them quickly. The question is what to do when I get the camera bag, pack the bag as and when or keep it packed all the time. The fact the lenses can be put in the new bag without needing their protective cases may make the packing of the bag easier each time.

Do you ………. Have the ‘right’ ratio of planned to unplanned shooting?

I don’t as anyone that read the recent 5 Apps for Photography post will know. Too much of my photography is dictated by having my camera with me when I am in the marina or when Moreno starts to play. Not enough is planned and thought out in advance.

An original hope with 4 frames was that ‘we’ would do some combined project stuff to motivate and comapare – e.g. take 12 Macro photos in one day, all take 12 pictures of our ‘typical’ day. I have been trying to think of some projects for Almerimar Life, and have come up with these so far:

  • A Picture of the Sunset each month to ‘track’ where it sets
  • A picture of all the small play areas and squares around the marina
  • The same position i.e. one square at three different times of the day

I would love if it a group of us could come up with a subject that we could all photograph to compare i.e. Saturday morning all take a picture out our bedroom window, or take a picture of our favourite bar, or our work space – anything really!!! I would be more than happy to receive them and publish them all on the site??

Do you ………….. Take too many of the same ‘type’ of photographs’

Again I do! I will discount Moreno (and you can your pets and children) but I think I have a tendency to take too many ‘generic’ scenes, especially of Almerimar. I need to take lots of pictures of Almerimar but I think I need to find a way to get more under the ‘character’ of the place than just a overview type picture. Andie told me ages ago that you don’t need to take the whole building to show the character of the building, just focus on one specific element like an old roof. I need to do this more with Almerimar I think.

Do you ………….. Fancy a photography trip?

On the basis that I hate organised events and trips, and group things in general this is pretty weird but I would really like to head off for a week somewhere and take some pictures with a group of like minded people who where hopefully, and more than likely, better than me at taking pictures.

There you go – weird what I wake up thinking sometimes.

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  1. Tripods – they are not packed into their bags, but they are folded and put away.
    Equipment – goes in the bag. Never leave it outside of the bag, unless I’m shooting/experimenting. When finished all goes back in the bag. The bag is fairly close at hand for easy access.
    Planned or unplanned – Mostly planned right now, since working during the daylight hours prevents me from going out during the week, so all my photos are planned ahead of schedule. I have my little sony p&s with me all the time “just in case”. I was thinking of taking my dslr to work on a daily basis, just in case, but then other questions started cropping up…. should I take all my equipment, or just a specific lens or two…. etc. etc. So I gave that up.
    Photography projects are always a good challenge. I’ve been thinking about a few of my own since 4Frames didn’t pan out.
    Same “type” – The thing is you can always find something new to shoot even when shooting the same thing. The same square in town will look completely different at different time of day. That tree will look completely different at night than during the day etc. etc. So it’s a bit of planning and a bit of experimentation. Different angles, different view points.
    Trips – trips are always welcome. It would be nice to break the monotony of the empty fields and snow at the moment, but on the other hand I want to take my photos to another level, using that monotony of the place I know. There is so much here that I haven’t explored. I worry that a photo-trip to Africa or somewhere more exotic would be a futile attempt, until I get better at shooting my “own backyard”.

  2. Tripods – I have an old Bogen tripod that I don’t use all that often simply because of how heavy it is – so it is packed away. I have a smaller one that is in a bag but readily available.

    Bag – My equipment is always packed in my camera bag. The only exception to this is a Quantam battery pack I bought for my flash when I photographed my brother in laws wedding. I find that unless I am going to be using the flash extensively, carrying it around is not really necessary.

    Planned vs unplanned – I tend to plan trips. The problem is that unless I have a specific trip in mind I actually don’t shoot as much as I would like to. I need to work on keeping my camera handy and taking more spontaneous shots. I am sure that I am missing on the great day to day pictures I would get if my camera were readily available. As far as personal projects go, I have always thought that the right project – or any project for that matter – would help encourage me to take more pictures – typically though unless I am actually going somewhere new I tend not to take the camera. Bad I know.

    Taking the same types of photographs. I absolutely do this and it is a tough habit to break. I like taking pictures of things like signs, old buildings, windows, doors, closeups of objects etc. Initially this was a great departure from the standard scenic shot but now I find that I am in a rut of doing this way too much.

    Photo Trips – I have never done one of these but think it would be great idea for many of the reasons you mentioned – getting out with a group of people interested in the same hobby, and with potentially better experience sounds like a great way to improve. I also find that photography is a lot of fun for the person doing it but often significantly less so for the poor souls who are with you. Expecting your family (and mine is VERY tolerant) to wait around for half an hour or so while you find all the various ways to shoot something can quickly turn a vacation into drudgery for them – and waking up at dawn to get “that” light is typically unrealistic. All this to say that going on a trip with people equally as obsessed as you, may allow you to shoot better pictures than you would get on a vacation while allowing family time to be more about family.

  3. I keep all of my kit in various bags and cases, and grab what I need for the trip/occasion. I usually take too much but better that than the converse. My situation is complicated in that I use two different systems, (rangefinder & slr) and use only prime lenses as opposed to the more versatile zooms.

    If I had only one camera body plus a couple of zoom lenses, I’d have it as a kit good to go at the drop of a hat in one bag with the tripod for those low light or extreme telephoto shots if that was to be the case. Digital offers so much convenience sometimes

  4. Hey guys, not wanting to take away from a perfectly valid post and set of comments, but isn’t this all getting a little serious? I mean isn’t Photography one of the great creative arts? A totally subjective thing? Shouldn’t it be all about what suits the individual and how that person gets enjoyment from their hobby or job?

    In my line of business I get to meet and work with a few professional photographers, a few of which it would be fair to say, seem a big bogged down with dragging tonnes of kit about and searching for that elusive ‘perfect shot’, where as I also have non-photographic friends that post some amazingly good photography to their blogs and Flickr etc with nothing more than camera phones and by being care-free in their approach to it all.

    My advice to anyone which regarding to any hobby would be to do whatever you need to do to make sure YOU keep enjoying it. Whether that’s buying new equipment, taking a step back and looking for a new perspective on the whole thing or taking advice from others.

  5. @ Andy. That’s why we have such great people here that give great advice, allowing others to try new things 🙂 … About seriousness…. hmmm…. I think if you invest a couple of thousands into the camera equipment then you are either fallen on your head, or you are trying to be a bit more serious about this whole photo thingy 🙂
    I totally agree with you on your advice. If a hobby stops being enjoyable then it’s time to give it up. Funny thing is I actually enjoy taking my heavy backpack and going out in search for that elusive ‘perfect shot’. Gets me out of the house at least 🙂

  6. @Andy – exactly. That was the ‘hidden’ message behind the post in a way. You see this is purely a hobby, should be fun, should be relaxing etc.

    But ‘back in the day’ a hobby was stamp collecting, or something that had a low cost associated to it (OK buying the Penny Black was a little expensive I admit) but now that we (as Mac says) have $000’s invested it is hard to keep that perspective – you can tend to end up worrying about what you are not doing rather than what you are doing.

    But then again – maybe that is the new hobby? Collecting expensive stuff (and for my parents who I know read this – I know what you are going to say!!!)

    I have said this before on Tim’s show. Now that ‘we’ have affordable access to Pro level equipment and software (not just in Photography) it is hard to keep the hobby mentality going 🙂

  7. I think what Andy is saying is that if you have to keep a tripod lying around to suit your need, then do it. We are all different in what we do and need to do.

    Is it more a question of what Mrs Marshall will allow in the way of clutter? How much photographic equipment do you have? How much of it do you need to get to in seconds as opposed to a few minutes? If it is so critical, then I’d say forget the tripod, it will slow you down no matter what you’d like to shoot. If time is not the essence then it is not a problem, store it where it is not in the way

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