Accidental pictures?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by drdan, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. drdan
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    drdan New Member

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    This would probably would be better named "Incidental Pictures".

    I noticed in the "Keepers and Tossers" thread that there was more similarity in the percentages of good pictures people get than I would have thought. That makes me wonder about another thing that happens to me a lot. I often set out to take a picture of a particular scene or plant pr place and do take a lot of pictures. In the process, however, I will take a couple of quick, incidental snaps of an unrelated thing just because it catches my eye and I happen to have my camera in my hand. Quite often those are the pictures I like the best when I start looking through them all on the computer. They are "accidents" in the sense I didn't set out to take pictures of that subject. In fact I usually didn't even pay it much attention, I just took a couple pics and moved on.

    Is this common? Is it merely the result of being an rank amateur and what I "think" I want isn't really whats' going to be good? Is it because I don't overthink the incidental pictures and "something that just catches my eye" is a better guide than planning pictures out?

    If this does happen regularly to other people, does it stop happening as you get better at knowing what to plan for or look for. It seems like some of the better photos I've seen are meticulously planned out and set up.
  2. MDowdey
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    MDowdey Guest

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    ive also noticed some of the pictures where i was just fooling around turned out to be the best of the lot... nice way to think of it doc!!!

    we are all accidental geniuses


    md
  3. MrEd31
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    MrEd31 New Member

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    I was just thinking about what you said...

    If the accidental shots are the ones you liked best, than maybe you would be best off to go out to take pictures without a plan. Then you'd be able to just shoot away at anything you see. Taking a picture spontaneously might produce more eye catching images. This is just a thought, and it's really just stating the obvious, but I thought I'd post it up anyway.
  4. ZERO
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    ZERO New Member

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    Accidental and impulsive are slightly different things.

    If a person's photographic purpose has a creative aspect, then
    impulse is a inherent part of that process.
    The true mode of the artist to operate in this way.

    The potential for accidental results to occur is always there.
  5. Jeff Canes
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    Jeff Canes New Member

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    I agree with you Doc, but then I am not much on planning the pictures I take, a lot times I will go to a location and wander around taking pictures, with camera on full auto
  6. markc
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    markc New Member

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    I'm rarely happy with my planned shots. Some people are really good at this. Robert and Shana Parkeharrison are perfect examples of this. Their creations are meticulously planned out, but there's no doubt that there is a huge amount of creativity involved. It's certainly art. On the other end is someone like Henri Cartier-Bresson, who coined the term "the decisive moment", and is so quick with his camera that he can take a picture of someone on the street without them even knowing it.

    For myself, I tend to do my best work when I don't think about trying to do something specific, and I just "be there", keeping my eye open for the right moment to hit the shutter. This works best when I'm in a group of people, but not really taking part in what's going on. I just float around taking shots, and people start to get used to me being there and pretty much ignore me. I get into this zone where I'm not thinking much about anything, I'm just looking and "feeling". I love spending time like that, and that's when I produce the images that I enjoy the most.
  7. ksmattfish
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    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I think that the reason you are happier with the "accidental" shots is because they are somewhat of a surprise since you had no expectations. With planned out pics you have a preconceived notion of what you want to get, and they may not always live up to it.

    I'm all for impulsive, accidental, or experimental shots, but I think that if you take what you learn from them, and then incorporate it into a planned shot, you will end up with a better photo.

    Along the lines of this thread and the Keepers and Tossers thread I would have to say that my criteria for rating my own photos has gotten much tougher as I have learned more about photography, and looked at other photogs' work. Although I know that I am taking a lot more good pics than when I started, fewer and fewer photos actually rise to the very top of my personal rankings. Out of hundreds, if not thousands, of photos taken in a year, I probably get 4 to 6 that I consider very good. If I could double that I'd consider it to be an extremely productive year.
  8. terri
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    terri Administrator Staff Member

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    Hear, hear, Matt.... :D

    It's those surprisely nice images where you had no expectations that give you the extra grin and say, "Hey, I ain't half bad!" Genius off the cuff.

    I'm only half joking there. :wink:

    I am MUCH more satisfied when I get an image back that I noticed while out - stopped in my tracks to think about and plan - took my time - previsualized - and my negative lives up to just what I wanted. I don't have a ton of them, so I kind of bundle my "off the cuff" good ones around them, and that about sums up my body of work thus far. :D
  9. markc
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    markc New Member

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    I should mention that I don't just randomly hope for a good pic. I have a certain style that I'm going for, so if I'm amongst a group of kids, I'm not going to be shooting a picture of a tree. My head just isn't open to seeing that when I'm in the "kid" zone. But with them running around, I can't really plan on anything specific, either.

    I like shallow DOF, so I use wide apertures... I prefer some motion, so I lean towards slower shutter speeds... I use either an effective 80mm or 135mm lens... Then I look for compositions that fit my bill. I may not have a specific one in mind, but I do shoot for a certain "look". The "aha" moments all happen within those set parameters.
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo have kiwi, will travel...

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    good topic drdan,

    I occassionaly take those. The last one i took, even though it was set up on a tripod, i had no idea it would turn out so well. I nearly deleted it on my digicam. The shot I was trying to get at with my tripod turned out really horrible. But it was a good tradeoff.

    It doesn't happen that often but it sure puts a smile on my face when it does. Having a digicam kinda spoils the mystery - but not entirely. You can get an idea of what it looks like, but blurry images an fine details alike can escape the even the keenest eyes on the LCD screen.

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