Planning to Not Plan Anything

The Road to Space & Silence

Last week I took a short trip to the middle of nowhere with my partner to simply be among a landscape. I had my camera and tripod yet made no plans to shoot anything or anywhere. I planned on not making any plans at all. Does this type of approach work well for landscape photography? Wouldn’t it be better to plan ahead to anticipate a potential image, especially in a new landscape? I’m sure some would argue this to be true but my approach is about letting the unknown dictate the images.

I photographed this scene right outside our camp at an undisclosed area of Utah. We had no plans on camping here for 2 nights and just wanted to find a random place away from people. The long dirt road slowly climbed to a gentle pass where the road pictured, turned towards another pass. From this vantage point we were able to see this scene and 360º of space throughout the day and night.

Day 1 was clear and cool, Day 2 was partly cloudy and later that night a dust storm moved in and obscured this view. Day 3 was hot and clear as we headed home on a long dirt road. It all makes me think if I could have planned this image to begin with. Would I have picked this location? Could I have predicted the spotlighting that would occur all afternoon? What if the dust storm came earlier (which wasn’t even forecasted)?

The point is that it’s all impossible to predict or anticipate. For me it works much better to simply go somewhere authentically interesting, observe the landscape and conditions then respond accordingly. It’s an approach which can be applied nearly everywhere and one which I find produces my most personally meaningful images.

May 2022 // Utah

2 White Rocks and clear skies

2 thoughts on “Planning to Not Plan Anything

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