I’ve gotta admit that I do my best work when I’m alone. A recent trip to photograph some moving water in the mountains near my house comes to mind. I’d been to this mountain stream once before with a group of friends and their teenage kids. Yes, it was fun and yes, I enjoyed making pictures of the teenagers being teenagers but…calculating the depth of field parameters and exposures for moving water images just wasn’t going to happen.
So, I returned a month later — alone — to capture rushing water. And I made some satisfying images.
Only thing is…alone means…well…alone. And alone means nobody is around to rescue me if I slip on a leaf covered rock and break my fool neck. It got me thinking about safety — and more about that later in this post.
Seems to me that there are several kinds of groups: The first kind includes friends and family — a social group who don’t really view the outing as an opportunity for me to make incredible photos.
If the outing is a social gathering I don’t really want to make great landscape photos. I’m there to enjoy my family or the company of others. To impose my will on the group (as in “…lets wait another hour so the sun is low…”) just doesn’t seem right. And besides, I can always use these social outings to scout a location — as I did with the teenagers in the mountain stream.
Now this may come across as a sacrilege but I’m not really thrilled with setting out on a photo adventure with a bunch of photographers. Maybe one or two…but a group? No way. They separate into smaller groups and we all tend to get in each others way.
Frankly, groups of any size or makeup tend to stifle my creativity. But there is one exception: The Bride. The Bride and I have been going on photography outings for more years than I can count. I bought her a camera once. She rejected it and said that she would be just as happy to be my spotter. And THAT started a photography partnership that is hard to beat. And besides, she’s there to go for help if I slip on that leaf covered rock.
Incidentally, if I go alone or with The Bride there is always a cell phone along and someone else knows where I/we are going.