General versus Specialized photography philosophical question

Started Sep 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
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bathgate
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General versus Specialized photography philosophical question
Sep 16, 2013

I'd really like to get some feedback on an issue that I've been mulling over recently.  I see that many of the mainstays on this board are dedicated to certain types of photography.  Rudy, Iain and Brandon shoot birds and their dedication to that task shines through with consistently excellent images posted here.  Others do great portrait work.  I tend to be a generalist.  I'll shoot whatever catches my eye at any given moment.  Sometimes I'll go out to try to shoot landscapes.  Sometimes birds or wildlife.  Sometimes stillifes.  While I don't typically shoot people/pets/portraits or street stuff, I'll sometimes do so, although it will usually be a one off situation.  I usually have a specific objective in mind for any given outing but that objective changes day to day, depending on quality of available light, my mood, targets of opportunity or any of a number of other criteria.  Sometimes I want to try a technique I've read about or seen utilized.  My question is whether people here think that being dedicated to learning one type of photography is the best path towards improving or if being a generalist provides the different challenges that will help along that same path.  Does sticking to one thing (not suggesting the bird shooters or others can't do other things but they do seem to have a single area of concentration) help you master not only that aspect of photography but also to learn great technique that applies as well to other challenges or is it better for somebody still learning the craft to try everything?  Does that provide a false path that leads only to being a "jack of all trades/master of none"?  Opinions, please.

Michael

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