Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Planning vs Spontaneity


I Got It!
Originally uploaded by Iguanasan
I've heard a lot of photographers say that in order for them to improve they had to spend a lot of time planning out each and every detail of their photo shoot before they ever picked up the camera to go shooting. I always thought they were wasting valuable time planning when they could be out shooting.

I mean, what's there to plan? Grab your camera and head out for a walk and shoot whatever interests you. The closest I get to planning is deciding in which direction to walk. It was on one of those walks that I was able to catch the "I Got It!" image you see above. There's no way I could have planned on catching that shot.

Back in December I was talking with some people at my photography club and the subject of the January 1st Polar Bear Dip came up. Wouldn't it be awesome to sit next to Black Rock Beach in Point Pleasant Park and get people's facial expressions as they hit the icy water? Sounded like fun but then I sort of forgot about it.

Just after Christmas I decided I wanted to go and shoot the Polar Bear Dip. What time did it start? How long would it take? Where could I sit? All of a sudden, planning seemed like a good idea. A quick search on Google helped me find http://herringcovepolarbeardip.com/

By reviewing the information on the site I was able to determine that the dip started at 12:00noon on the first and that people were jumping in the water off of the Government Wharf in Herring Cove. Apparently, my memories of Point Pleasant Park were out of date.

I looked up the location on Google Maps and figured the docks on the other side of the cove would be a great vantage point but just how far from the action would I be? Using Google Maps again, I was able to figure out that it would be about 65 meters distance. I compared this to other shots I had taken at other locations to figure out just how far away that was going to be and I decided I could live with the results I would likely get.

So, I packed up my gear on January 1st and headed down to Herring Cove, found a place to park and rang a doorbell to ask someone if he minded if I sat on his dock to take pictures. He said that as long as I didn't fall in I was welcome to use his dock. I thanked him and headed out back to the dock and ended up sitting next to a fellow from the Canadian Press.

Planning was a good thing! Without it, I would never have gotten the shot below. I'm a little slow but it was then that I realized that like everything else in life, a little moderation is a good thing. Plan some shooting events, go random on others. There's room for both!


Go!
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