Thursday Tips: Going Solo27
Thursday Jun 2013
In the fall of 2006 I drove to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a weeklong photo shoot. It was my third time to visit the area for photography, having shot there with a group of others in 2002 and 2003. This time, however, I was on my own. It would be my first overnight photo shoot alone. Since then, heading off for extended photo trips by myself has been the norm rather than the exception.
I feel that there are clear advantages, at least for me, that come with solo shooting and I want to share them, as well as some of the disadvantages that are an inherent part of heading into the field by yourself.
The most important benefit, as I see it, from going out with my gear by myself is…I end up with better images, on balance, in comparison with when I shoot with others. I presume that this doesn’t apply to everyone, but it certainly was self-evident to me when I returned from that Upper Peninsula trip in 2006. When I’m out by myself I’m able to focus entirely on photography, with no concerns about anyone else’s needs or desires. I decide where to go, how long to stay, when to quit, whether to wait out the light, whether to go around the next bend in the trail, whether to see if I can find a better vantage point…you get the idea. I’m in full control of everything, and I find that incredibly enabling and an undeniable boon to personal creativity.
If I want to return to a certain spot at a different time, no else has to agree to it; I just go.
If I want to skip dinner to take full advantage of evening light (something I almost invariably do when I’m on these shoots, by the way), I just skip it.
If I want to spend the “bad light” time in the middle of the day scouting a new location, I simply head off.
If I want to hike to an overlook in the dark to be at “the spot” at civil twilight, no one has to approve.
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