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Spontaneous Adventure

This assignment ran from Nov 1 to Nov 22, 2013.

Has it been way too long since the last time you went on an unplanned adventure? If so, we invite you to do something spontaneous this month and take us along for the ride. Forget your cell phone. Turn off your notifications. Be spontaneous.

For me, the unplanned adventure somehow always turns out to be the most memorable. You don’t have to go far to have a spontaneous adventure—you just have to go. This month’s assignment is all about spontaneity. I'm looking for those great photos that showcase the unexpected and exciting imagery from an unplanned escape from the ordinary.

We dare you to throw out the itinerary and get out the map! More...

Anyone is welcome to participate in this sponsored assignment and the Your Shot community, however in order to be eligible for the contest prize associated with this assignment participants and submissions must adhere to the Official Rules.

Curated by:

John Burcham
National Geographic Photographer
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Dec 6, 2013.
Thank you for your contributions!

Creativity & Composition

Posted nov 18, 2013

Again, I am so impressed by all the amazing images that everyone has been posting. You guys have really stepped it up. I’m seeing a lot more interaction within the photos.

I know that there have been questions as to whether something is authentically spontaneous or what determines an adventure. Like I said before, you don’t have to go to the far ends of the Earth to get that feeling of adventure. Essentially it’s all about the creativity and composition that can give you the edge in this contest. I have been seeing some photos that really fit that spontaneous adventure criteria but just miss the mark slightly because they lack some of the components of what makes a solid image.

There’s only a little time left before the competition ends. So go shoot an idea you have had for a while, revisit a place with a new look, or go to a nearby place you have never been to. Either way you will become a better photographer for trying. Sometimes I give myself mini-assignments, which help with my creative process. Photography is a never-ending learning curve; this is what makes it so exciting. Looking forward to seeing more inspiring images.


Posted nov 8, 2013

I'm really loving the images that are being posted. Thanks to everyone for submitting such amazing photos. Every time I look through the submissions it motivates me to get out there.

There are a lot of beautiful landscapes being posted, but I would like to see something spontaneous happening within the landscape—whether it's nature in action or a human presence within the photo. I want to see something that makes me want to hit the road and have fun. Let's see it in an unexpected way. Don't be afraid to add emotion to the photo. Let the photo pull me in to your personal experience.

Keep challenging yourself. I feel lucky and honored to be able to participate in this whole process. You guys inspire me.

Follow That Impulse

Posted oct 30, 2013

Being spontaneous can feel a little risky and unnerving, but once you do it you won’t be disappointed. Go into the adventure with your eyes wide open and with no expectations—you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Just because you might act first and think later doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. You don’t want to miss the shot because you forgot your favorite lens or that extra battery. Create a checklist of items you might need for your adventure. Pack a bag and leave it in your car or closet for an easy escape.

Follow that impulse right out the door. You never know what you might find.

John Burcham

John Burcham

National Geographic Photographer
John Burcham is most at home climbing new routes up the sandstone spires of Sedona, Arizona, but has been adventuring and photographing since college. Burcham's blue-collar work ethic and love for wild places—working at a fish cannery and a decade living in Alaska are among his experiences—allow him to capture images of exploration and adventure from otherwise inaccessible perspectives. His clients have included National Geographic, the New York Times, the History Channel, Kahtoola Snowshoes, and Sherpa Adventure Gear.