Most of the time I prefer well planned photowalks, where I know I have a good chunk of time (60 minutes up to perhaps 180 minutes), plus what camera I’m going to use and where I’m going.
With all of these choices in place, I all but eliminate decision fatigue, and can fully immerse myself in the experience – enjoying both the camera, and the places I’m exploring.
But sometimes these longer photowalks feel too far apart and I crave shorter sessions in between.
Let’s call these sessions of “Stolen Photography”, squeezed in between the cracks of every day life.
Typically they’re short bursts where perhaps only a maximum of a dozen photographs might be taken – and sometimes only one or two.
For me these might come during a lunchtime walk at work, or after the children are in bed and I’m waiting for my wife to get ready for bed.
Sometimes I enjoy them, other times they’re frustrating.
Here are the pros and cons of these Stolen Photography sessions for me.
– Extra time making photographs and using cameras I enjoy.
– More photographs made, some of which I might love.
– Keeps creativity muscles active between longer, planned photowalks.
– They’re always short, so I struggle to get immersed, always watching the clock. The whole immersive experience is one of the major reasons I love photography, so these Stolen Photography sessions fall well short here, and arguably dilute my overall feelings about photography.
– Limited subject matter. Because I’m in very familiar places close to home or work, I end up shooting the same things over and over. Sometimes this is a useful challenge in itself (like the One Room, Fifty Photographs challenges). But mostly it means I end up taking shots that just get deleted immediately after, and question whether it was worth it at all.
– It prevents me from enjoying other things that are better suited to shorter sessions, like just simply walking without looking for photographs, reading, checking in with some blog conversations, or listening to music.
My reliance on Stolen Photography has changed considerably in the last couple of years.
When I was using a large number of different lenses, especially with digital cameras like my Sony NEX, I went on these Stolen Photography sessions far more often.
Usually because I was either testing a new lens, or needed to get a few sample photographs with a lens I was about to sell on eBay.
Because those days are pretty much over, and I no longer feel more like a camera tester and collector than a photographer (see my thoughts on being a Photollector from 2015), my Stolen Photography has drastically reduced too.
I’d like to photograph more often, but the 60 minute plus photowalks I so value, not just these shorter snatched sessions, which don’t really work.
How about you? Do you go out on snatched Stolen Photography sessions, or wait until you know you’ll have a longer undisturbed period of time?
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