When I am out, scouting for a decent landscape or street photo, I don't think too hard about what I am going to photograph.
I have a destination in mind, but its not usually subject to careful pre-planning. I don't know if the location has been photographed many times and therefore I am not looking for a specific spot that I must get to. Obviously, with Architecture photography, it is a different story. I know exactly what I am going to shoot and I am planning a specific time to go out and shoot the building, when the light is at its best, preferably.
So why do I not do this with my landscape photography images?
One of my rules is that there is not just one composition to be had, in a specific location.
This above image was shot in the hills of Settler's Park, right at the end of Pearl Street, in Boulder. I literally scrambled my way up the rocks with my camera mounted on my tripod.
I took many shots in this location. Some worked, some did not. But my actual process is simple; it is just this...
I get the buzz, the thrill of exploration, coursing through me, and if I see something that I think will work, I put the viewfinder to my eye and shoot.
I may move backwards or forwards to see if I can improve on the framing. There's nothing worse than getting back to the computer, two thousand miles away, and realising that I cut out a portion of the scene that would have worked if I had just took a few steps back. Or realising that I wasn't steady enough on the the monopod and there is visible camera shake in the image. That can be very disappointing.
This image, 'Glorious Boulder', was the result of me trekking up to the top of Settler's Park and turning back on myself and seeing this definite route, a pathway, which takes you back down the mountain. Luckily, the light was illuminating the path and the landscape beyond, so that the eye moves from the foreground, across the scenery. Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury of shooting in the evening or before dawn, as I wasn't completely sure of knowing my surroundings well enough to be stumbling around in the dark.
I took many shots that day on that mountainside, many of them didn't work because of the abundance of foliage which made the compositions look fairly messy. But my run and gun approach, which is now habitual from my Street Photography shooting style, gets me into the shooting zone and keeps me excited and motivated.