Right place, wrong time or conditions?
I have often found what I think would be a great subject or location, but other variables are just not right at that moment (It rarely keeps me from shooting though). This may be related to my personal likes. I'm not too interested in shooting monuments or famous tourist locations, more the "off the beaten path" type things or scenery. I also have a, perhaps perverted, interest in old buildings, abandoned homesteads, etc. I also prefer shots during the first of last 60-90 min. of daylight, not exclusively, just a preference.
Frequently I happen upon a subject and it has potential, but it is the wrong time of day, wrong season, wrong weather, etc. I would, in the past, just make a note, sometimes mental, to get back there. Most of the time I forget particularly if there is a great deal of time or distance involved in getting back to the area.
I started taking and saving these did bits of info. in a spreadsheet to include location (I now use GPS coordinates by simply asking my Garman, where am I?). I also include preferred season, time of day, weather conditions, etc. If we are planning a vacation, such as our annual trip to Michigan's UP, I can resurrect my thoughts from previous trips or if the subject matter is more than an hour's drive.
Does anyone else keep track of "potential" future shots for the same reasons, though perhaps not quite as anally?
Sort of. I have my mental list of places nearby that I revisit occasionally when I think the light is good or that I plan to visit when I can. Then there are places I know I will travel to again and I might take what amounts to a scouting shot just to remember where it is, and if the light is right when I'm in the vicinity again, I'll try to revisit.
"Does anyone else keep track of 'potential' future shots for the same reasons...?
Absolutely. When I am out shooting, I typically carry a notebook for recording exposure information, location, date, etc. If I come upon a scene I want to try at a different time of day or year, I record that in the same notebook.
I've found that when I 'go back' to a landscape scene at a more favorable time the scene I waited for is not it at all. The inspired scene in poor conditions does not get better in other conditions. I'll make the 'better' photograph but it really isn't better in my view, the inspiration of discovery is missing.
I'll wait for another season and look for another inspiration. But to wait an hour or a day or a week doesn't work for me.
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I'm constantly looking at locations and thinking about when the best lighting might occur, not just time of day, but seasonally also.
I’ll make notes and take a few reference shots with a 35mm.
Sometimes I actually get back to shoot the scenes.
A few months ago, I stumbled on a very useful free program ("The Photographers Ephemeris") for forecasting lighting for landscape photographers (might have been on this forum?):-
Well worth checking out.
Neat application! Thanks for the link.
This problem is often compounded with vacation/travel photography. I have often packed my gear with the anticipation of capturing famed landmarks or buildings, only to find myself at a once in a lifetime location under simply horrible conditions. I usually try to take the intended shot anyway, and often get a useable-if-not-quite-inspiring photograph in return.
In these cases I will also do another part of my photographer's exercise... I turn the camera another direction, away from my original subject... up, down, near, far. (This is part of my every day shooting regimen) I look for the unusual and unexpected. Something fresh and new. These are often the more memorable photographs from a trip. They are something that I could not have preconceived, and their genesis is not influenced by the weight of expectations.
Nice app, by the way. Some time ago, I printed a chart of moon times for my home location so I can make some plans for future shots, but this is so much more detailed and useable.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...