Tripods are a blessing and a curse. Have you ever watched a group of photographers arrive at a location and set up to take some photographs. I would bet that at least had of the group immediately set their tripod up at about eye level and then start making pictures. It’s a natural thing to do and I’m not saying that it’s bad to do that just that it locks you into a particular way of seeing.
I’m just getting back into using a DSLR after a hiatus where I only shot with my iPhone. I’m still reluctant to drag all the gear – the tripod, the bag of lenses, the filters etc. around with me and so at the moment I’m still 95% iPhone. Everything you’ve seen here or on instagram in the last 2 or 3 years has been with the iPhone.
What i’ve realized before and I’m noticing again is that there is a fluidity to shooting with a phone that is lacking with a larger camera. I tend to explore a bit more, move around, explore different angles, get closer, get lower and just generally be more creative. I find this exploration of a scene helps me move beyond the obvious image and get closer to something that is more me.
I plan on still using the phone before I even get my DLSR out of the bag to explore and then once I’ve found the composition pull out the DSLR, tripod and paraphernalia to get the final shot.
How about you? How do you go from initial seeing to final image. Do you mage sketch images to help work through the scene in front of you? How do you do that? Do you use a viewfinder like the painters use? An old slide holder? Your camera like I do? I’d be interested to hear about your process in the comments.