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The chicken or the egg? Do you scout for your photographic location or come up with an image concept first?

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Oh, I am totally an egg shooter! I think. Maybe a chicken? Uh, actually, I’m not sure which is which in your metaphor. For me the image making process is about discovery. I don’t like forcing my vision into a pre-existing concept because I find that destroys my creativity in the moment. If I show up to Milford Sound for example with visions of some epic wide-angle landscape dancing in my head then I might not pay attention to the smaller, different scenes that are speaking to me in the actual moment. Because I hate to tell you, but Mother Nature has different plans for your vision. She might serve you up a plate of steak and mashed potatoes, but more likely she’ll bring you a sack of moldy boot leather. And if you’re dead-set on the vision in your head then you are gonna be sorely disappointed when the conditions you’re pre-visualized fail to materialize.

Not that I’m saying people shouldn’t try to achieve the vision of a photo they have, just don’t pursue that at the sake of spontaneous creativity in the moment.

So to rewind to your other question, I spend a ton of time scouting, though I don’t really think of it specifically as scouting. For me it’s just exploring, hiking, climbing, canyoning, and backpacking. And when an opportunity appears for a photo, then I’ll grab it and shake it by the ears.

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