|The space shuttle Discovery photographed with a 600mm lens from National Harbor, Md.|
Maybe it's because I've photographed the same event year after year, so I pretty much know what to expect and then I just place myself in the right location and wait for the action to unfold. And recently photographing the shuttle Discovery as it flew over Washington, D.C., I was able to get pretty much the exact photo I had in mind. There wasn't any pressure since I was not on assignment to get this particular photo, so all I had to do was put myself in the right position, with the right equipment, to capture the previsualized photo as events presented themselves.
In this case I was assigned to photograph the Sea Air Space Exposition at the National Harbor, something I've done the previous three years, so I knew there were parking garages that would probably give me a good vantage point looking over the Potomac River. When it all came together I quietly thought to myself that this is exactly what I wanted, exactly as I had previsualized.
|This photograph did catch me a bit off guard when it came from behind me and passed almost directly over my head.|
So now previsualization has become part of my overall preparation, normally while going about all my other pre-assignment routines like packing gear and making travel arrangements. It's all about focusing on one assignment at a time.
Ansel Adams used previsualization as it related to the Zone System, the notion that if you study a scene and really analyze the tones, the photograph will come out as you expect. It was a turning point in his career. Of course I'm not shooting with an 8x10 view camera, or even comparing myself to Adams, but if previsualizing a photograph was good enough for him, then I believe I'll continue the practice it myself.