I hadn’t been out in the woods to photograph for weeks! That’s why getting out today was so important. I didn’t expect to create anything special, I just wanted to hike around and see what spring was bringing. After trudging around for a couple hours with a heavy long lens and tripod, I had had enough. The gear went back into the van and I drove off. It was cloudy, but not cold so I parked at a new location and started back into the woods. This time, I brought no camera. I just wanted to visualize the potential imagery I could make next time. I walked around for about an hour taking in the textures and colors of the ground, trees, old stone walls, and lines of a creek that winds through the woods.

Sometimes it is best for me just to walk and “see” without any gear. It’s something I don’t do often enough. My approach was to ask myself, if I were to make the image I’m visualizing, how would I do it and what gear would I need? When I walk around with a camera, I generally think about what type of imagery I can make with that particular gear. It’s limiting. I have several new ideas for series of images and feel that my time was well spent.



4 thoughts on “Virtual Photography

  1. Paul,

    An interesting approach to data gathering. I would assume you plan to go back to the location and do some work. Thus the question , what if the visual stimulus does not repeat itself. In other words, the image is gone and not to be repeated. Then again, the brain has recored an image and that might be as rewarding as the digital capture.


  2. Hey Jim,

    Good question. I did consider the liklihood of being able to go back and create the images I was considering. None were time-limited, that is totally ephemeral. Had they been, I would have gone back to the van and gotten gear to make the image. Having said that, the images I envisioned were situationally limited. I would need to work during the same time of year (early spring) and on a cloudy day. Also, some of the imagery I visualized turns out to be studio ideas such as collecting a few leaves and doing visual studies of them under more controlled conditions.

  3. I do this sort of thing all the time. I think it’s a really good way to keep your creative mind limber, and to free yourself from creative boxes we create for ourselves.

    And as to the question of what if you see something that can not be recapture? C’est la vie. That is the discipline of it. By looking without a camera, you see things that you normally would have ignored because you didn’t think you could capture it.

  4. Though I also do this, sometimes I wish my mind could just be freed of making everything into a photograph. But I find I am always contemplating details and compositions – sometimes simple scouting.

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