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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

The Importance Of Unplanning

I recently started reading and enjoying a new photography blog that I ran across entitled "Photographer's Journey" by Christopher Scholl. Recently, Chris had an interesting post entitled 'New Places. New Photographs', in which he discussed carefully planned out vs. spontaneous photography. Chris tends to be spontaneous. I personally fall somewhere in-between the two, generally planning ahead what park or area of the city I might go to, but not commonly planning to the degree of deciding ahead of time exactly where in the park I will go or what building I will photograph. Thinking about that post, I began to ponder the importance of being able to 'unplan'........or, to paraphrase, being able to accept the 'zen of photography'.

What do I man by this? As important as it can be to plan ahead and be at the proper location for sunrise, sunset, low tide etc, it is also important to have a freeness of spirit that will allow for plans to change, if need be. What if one's plan was to make sharp photographs of wildflowers but the wind was blowing, or if the plan was to photograph a waterfall and the day turned out to be bright and sunny etc, etc. You could battle with nature all the way, waiting for the wind to momentarily die down in order to get a sharp wildflower shot or waiting for that single cloud in the sky to pass in front of the sun and tone down the highlights and reflections off of the waterfall......and you might eventually get what you were after. Or you could accept what nature has dealt and be willing to go along with her without putting up a fight. You could decide that the windy day might just be the perfect time to capture impressionistic images of wildflowers in motion. You might decide to photograph shadows on that bright day instead of waiting and waiting for a few overcast moments during which the waterfall could be photographed well.

"Sand Patterns"
When It's Too Bright To Shoot The Beach, Shoot The Sand
Copyright Howard Grill

"Tough Tree"
Taken On A Bright Day With Terrible Light
Copyright Howard Grill

I think the best images are likely to be made when you are going with the flow instead of against it; when you accept what is, appreciate what is, and work along with it instead of fighting. Once you are working with the flow it becomes easier to be a part of what you are trying to photograph and less of an outside observer.

I am certain that it can be just as important to unplan as it is to plan!