i think it all depends ..
some people work better after contemplating
or studying, or having a deeper understanding of something
it is like making a portrait of an old friend or family member
as opposed to a stranger ...
some people work better by letting whatever it is they are photographing
hit them all at once.
i work better the 2nd way ... the longer i am somewhere pondering, contemplating
the less i feel connected to my subject ... just like i find it way more difficult to photograph
someone i know ... a stranger to me is much easier, AND there are no expectations ...
maybe contemplation leads to expectations as well
Yes indeed until they take you away to a rubber room on the funny farm ;)
It is possible that someone could walk up to a tree you have been contemplating for hours on end, plant himself over your shoulder and take a photograph that is as "meaningful" as the one you happen to snap at that moment. Possible, but not probable. The more you study your subject, the more aware you become of its subtleties, which can influence your resulting photograph in many ways.
Furthermore, contemplation of "trees" (if that is your subject, or fences, mountains, rocks, etc.) can give you insight into how that subject speaks to you, and how that subject can speak through your lens. You needn't consider a particular tree, nor even actually be present to consider it. You can let your mind explore the trees you have known and/or imagined. You can contemplate what draws you to the subject, what you find appealing, what you hope to catch in your lens. This can give you insight into how to approach your subject when you encounter it, camera in hand.
Before you dismiss this as just so much hooey, consider that unless you are one of those fortunate persons who can take a flawless photograph by chance, understanding your subject is a vital step towards knowing how to photograph it.
The only problem of over-contemplating is one might get so mellow that one never gets around to setting the camera up...:D
All I know is that there are a lot of trees in my negatives and slides (see my APUG gallery) so I expect that I have done a fair amount of contemplation of trees.
Seeing and contemplation go well together, and seeing is an integral part of meaningful photography.
I photograph light, so that is what I am contemplating as I wander under the redwoods. Hopefully others can see that in my photographs. But some people are very wrapped up rationality, in the concrete, and do not/cannot appreciate contemplative images. That's cool...it is our differences that make the world interesting.