My recent vacation photography adventure was not an experiment in spraying and praying. I didn't just go out and shoot 1400 frames of bullshit.
The experiment was one of thorough reportage of an intense two weeks. There were 14 days, 3 airplanes, 12 people, 3 dogs, 7 locations (at least, to get down to 7 some are fairly broadly construed), 2 bodies of water, 2 fairs, and 1 amusement park. Naturally, shooting kids on amusement park rides produces some dross, but that's easy to discard.
My daily counts are, roughly:
Can you tell which days we were doing amusement park rides? Ordinary lazy days are 50-70 exposures. More intense days are 100+, and amusement park rides push it around 200+.
As of this writing I am down to 100 frames, and to go further the next step is to select from the photogenic and memorable episodes those which can be dropped entirely. Well, I could probably drop another 5-10 by trimming down particularly charming episodes where I kept up to half a dozen photos. Getting down to 50 final pictures requires dropping episodes entirely.
The problem was not of how to find the few keepers among a giant pile of shit. There were lots of decent frames in there, and a few pretty good ones. There's just a hell of a lot of story.
I am used to making my projects in bits and pieces. I shoot a few things, I pick out one or two frames. I shoot more. The keepers accrete gradually, and then get re-edited down. At the end I've shot a lot of material (100s to 1000s of frames), and whittled it down to a handful. It's the having to do it all at once that was daunting.