Outdoor photography is a passion. There is a beauty and exhilaration about seeing the twilight colors on a shoreline or an osprey taking off that cannot be matched in a studio. Indeed, the fresh air is a benefit to both physical and spiritual well-being. Capturing images of these experiences allow the photographer to relive and display them for others. But, here is the question, is it better to shoot outdoors alone or with a partner or two? There are advantages to both.
I am a sucker for solitude. Being alone is a great way to focus on the task at hand. The fewer distractions the better as one tries to set the white balance, shutter speed, and other functions. For the religious, shooting alone has the dimension of being alone with the Creator. Wildlife are less threatened by one invader in their realm. This garter snake could have cared less about me as it tried to make a meal of this toad.
Yet, shooting with another and other people is also very rewarding. No one learns in a vacuum. A group is a clearing house of tips and techniques. Shutterbugs are willing to share their knowledge with each other. Again for the religious, it is good to be together with like-minded people. My friend, Andy Jackson, flushed out this osprey and we both wound up with some spectacular images of the bird.
My advice is to do both. Join a photography club on a group shoot or go with a friend or two. Help one another on technical skills and don’t be afraid of some constructive criticism. It’s good to have friends around for comradely and safety. Also, shoot alone and put your skills to the test. See how quickly and thoughtfully you can respond to the natural world to create great images. Solitude can be a wonderful gift.