Photo Strategy: Serendipity with a Little Bit of Planning

Do I have a photographic vision? Goals? A business plan? No, that would take all the fun out of it. Instead, I am guided by serendipity. I wander about the city taking photos.

But I don’t leave everything to chance. I try to be at the right place at the right time. I’m drawn to visual events, like Santarchy, where hundreds of faux Santas caused mischief on the National Mall. That’s where I got this photo, which was featured on InstantDC.

Merry KissmasThis was on a Saturday in December. I had heard about Santarchy through Twitter and had seen the previous year’s pictures. I knew the route the Santas would take so I got on my bike and waited for them on the Mall. I wanted a picture with the Capitol in the background. I got a picture of a Gagnam-style Santa (how dated that seems now) and then I saw Gene Simmons. I rushed ahead of him so I could get this shot with the Capitol over his shoulder.

And he really did say, “Merry Kissmas.”

So I guess my photographic method doesn’t entirely rely on chance. I plan ahead, think about my shots, and try to get in the right position to take them. It’s serendipity with a little bit of planning.

But I try not to think about that too much. I don’t want to be a Photographer with a Vision. I don’t want to be an Artist. I just want to enjoy taking photos.