How to: Spontaneous Photography Adventures / by Ricardo Seah

Spontaneous Photography Adventures 101

Here's a silly little guide not to be taken too seriously for you my fellow explorers and adventurers. Enjoy, have fun, get out there and never stop exploring (just don't forget to stay safe). 


What you will need :

  • A bag that will fit everything (preferably a backpack not a hand bag or messenger bag because it's more comfortable for those extended adventures)

  • A camera! (one where you can adjust settings manually like a DSLR) 

  • A tripod (preferably a light weight one or even a Gorillapod)

  • A torchlight or headlamp with a red-light setting (because you might just get lost in the dark)

  • No more than two lenses (because you don't want to break your back carrying too much gear) 

  • Adventure buddies (friends who will go out/call you out for an adventure at a moments notice) 

  • Some snacks and water in the bag (you might be out for some time and far from civilisation)

  • Music & the aux cable (chances are you will be going on a road-trip as part of your adventure and good music = good vibes, and while most cars now have a bluetooth audio system bring an aux cord just incase)

  • A weekend/holiday/day-off (I advise against just leaving the office/class for a spontaneous adventure)

  • An open mind and an adventurous spirit! 

Note: All my recommendations for the gear can be found on my gear page.

What to do?

Now that you have a load-out kit ready to go at a moments notice, all you need is an itch to get out there.. Here's a guideline for those who don't know where to start.

  • Find a friend/group of friends who will be your adventure buddies

    • Close friends, old friend, new friends, people who share that spirit of adventure. Just gotta make sure everyones on the same page for that specific adventure (i.e. not a good idea to bring a friend who's afraid of heights on a climbing related adventure)

    • Also important is to trust these peeps because they're gonna be your first responders should anything go wrong. I recommend having someone amongst your adventure buddies who's a survivalist incase you get lost in the woods or something like that.

    • Here are some group-shots with some of my adventure buddies! 

  • Have a go-to list of locations (optional)

    • It's good to have a list of locations you want to hit up so that you can just wake up and decide ok here's where we're going today! 

    • Instagram can be very helpful with this research bit to help you look for locations you might want to go to. Just click on the geotagged location on the post.

    • I save my list by saving instagram posts of places I'd like to go to into a collection.

  • Spontaneously decide to go on an adventure! Wait for an adventure buddy to message you saying "hey get your bag, we're leaving in an hour.." or "meet at 7am tomorrow for a road trip to somewhere.." OR You can be the one sending that message out!

    • Just get out with your friends. It doesn't have to be totally planned out!

    • Be open and prepared for anything to happen and expect that not everything will play out the way you have it in mind. You might have to take risks and you might not get a good shot at the end of the day but you most certainly have to make the most of it. You might end up doing something dangerous and sometimes not completely legal to get the perfect shot but thats all part of the adventure! 

      • I've gone off beaten routes, climbed fences and stood on the edge of cliffs several times just to get the shot but I've always made sure that it was safe and that I trusted myself and the environment. ie. test the ground you stand on and make sure there's some form of support incase you slip or the earth falls beneath you. (might be funny to you but people have lost their lives because they went overboard just take the shot and didn't take safety into consideration)

    • Many of my astrophotography adventures are actually spontaneous photography-adventures where my friend Guang Yow (@guangyow) just goes: "Clear skies tonight, lets go!" and an hour later we are off in pursuit of the milky way galaxy or the northern lights!

    • Example 1: Just last week my friend Anas (@a.geb) and I spontaneously decided to catch the sunset at Golden Ears just hours before we left. We made it to Golden ears just as the sun was setting only to realise that to get to the perfect sot with the waterfalls required a hike to get to (which according to the park person would only take like 15mins) so we proceeded for a fast hike in hopes to get to the falls before the sun had completely set.

      30mins into the hike and without cell phone service we realised we took the wrong/long route that would instead take us to the summit (which explains all the uphill) so we had to find a way to cut back and to the side of the stream which would lead us to the waterfall. Totally unprepared haha but it was definitely an adventure. We found a route which we could cut into but by the time we cut into the downhill side route, it was completely dark. Fortunately I always have my headlamp in my bag so that was super helpful and highly recommended! We got to the falls 50mins later and it was dark and the sunset we had intended to shoot was long gone.. BUT it was an adventure and we made the most out of it and got some cool shots in the end (one of which is the cover photo for this post).

    • Example 2: Over the weekend my friend Brian (@lifeofbrianwong) decides we should go somewhere and we got Anas (@a.geb)  to join us on this spontaneous adventure which was supposed to be a trip to the sea to sky gondola to get view from the top. But ended up including a trip to Brandywine Falls and a tiring hike/climb to the base of the waterfalls which although was not part of the initial plan was extremely rewarding. 

      Of course after Brandywine falls we did make it to the sea to sky gondola and went to the top to catch the amazing sunset as the sun's rays pierced through the mountain tops. 

Here are some shots from my recent adventures that I hope will inspire you to get out and go on your very own spontaneous photography adventures! 
  • Just go out and go shoot! 

    • You miss 100% of the shots you don't take (someone smart said that but #sotrue)

    • Be open and spread good vibes (chances are you will meet fellow adventurers along the way and make some new friends!)

    • Just don't forget: safety first! Don't do anything too risky as to put your life in danger. 

I hope you enjoyed this silly little guide and that you found it useful to some extent. Like and share this post as always to spread the love :) Comment below on some adventure locations you have in mind!

Till next time, keep snapping, go adventuring and never stop exploring! Safe, spontaneous photography adventures everyone!!