I’ve been blessed. I’ve hiked in deserts, snowmobiled on glaciers and pulled a camera’s viewfinder up to my eye in numerous enchanted locations. I’ve enjoyed capturing scenes, isolated onto two dimensional fragments reflected back up off of paper or liquid crystal display panels, many of which I have treasured. Less so for their artistic value. More so for the memories of the experiences they evoke.
This pursuit, decades old now, has helped foster a photographic shooting style that is hard to separate from the actual experiences. I take in a beautiful spot. I capture it photographically. They are the same thing. But for better or worse, this has taken place with a capture approach that involves lots of shooting. It is not uncommon that I will finish a day of shooting with 250-300 new images on my card and then Lightroom library. As I hike, I capture everything I see. As I stand before a scene, I zoom in, I zoom out, I snap away. I have completely distinguished the capture from culling processes.
But Thomas Heaton does it differently – see video above. He is a photographer/vlogger from the UK who heads out into nature and captures its beauty… one or two photos at a time. His style is deliberate. He searches for a composition, which sometimes never materializes. If he steps away from a day of shooting with just a few shots, he’s happy.
Thomas clicks the shutter button only when he is fairly certain it’s an image worth working up on a computer in post. And his visual diary, in the form of a Youtube channel that chronicles his adventures and this process, is compelling. It is making me wonder whether it’s time for a change.
Next month, I have a business commitment on the West Coast and a full day to kill while there. As a result, I’ll be heading out on the road at 3:00AM and will be at Joshua Tree National Park by sunrise. My goal is to be in the park for an entire day, right up to sunset. My goal is to shoot less, but better. My goal is to be like Thomas.
Stay tuned for a report…