Photography Shoot Lists


Way back when I was just about to graduate from Brooks Institute of Photography I was in class and the subject of keeping a shoot list came up. This was about the time that Apple computer was getting ready to release the Apple 2E.

The idea was to keep a written list of photographs that we wanted to make. Something that you could periodically glance at for inspiration. So I immediately started a rambling list with no organization to it, just a bunch of random ideas written in almost legible hand writing.

Soon after graduation I had access to a computer (the Apple 2E). I decide that I should take that cluttered list and try to organize it a little. By the time I finished I had a  neatly organized one or two page list. I thought in time I could knock most everything off of it, boy did I have a surprise coming.

Over time I would check off some of the items but the problem was that for every check mark I would add two, three or four new items to the list. Eventually the list grew large enough that like a potted plant I had to divide it into a smaller more manageable list. Then whole new lists started to be created

The next step was to break the list up regionally, which soon turned into all fifty states, National Parks, foreign lands. The lists have gotten out of hand to now after 30 years of doing this I have somewhere around 90 lists going all in my laptop. The thing is they never get any shorter they just get longer. Sure, some have gone dormant for periods of time, but they are there waiting for me to check something off or to add new ideas.

I know what you are thinking “he’s gone nuts”! Well ok nuts for information. As I research an area I add ideas to the corresponding list, knowing I may get there next week, next year or years from now and possibly I may never get there. But if I do get to some like Kangaroo Island in South Australia I know that I will have to spend a day or two photographing at Remarkable Rocks

I strongly believe that to have any success at nature photography there are several things we must do to tip the scales in our favor. First we need to do our research, a well honed skill set is imperative, then we need to put ourselves in the right place at the right time. Most importantly we have to have a bit of luck with mother nature cooperating, and if she does not we have to be persistent until she smiles on us.

Little did I know way back when, how important something as small as a list would be in my life.