There’s no way to not put in the work. But the thing is, you can put in the work at different times, so when you are shooting, most of the work is already done.
The other day, I noticed my schedule was set so that I was walking through Hibiya Park in the afternoon, when the sunlight was going to be slanty and interesting. It’s a park I know pretty well, and I know that that slanty light would be shining on the regular haunt of a heron. Sure, that heron isn’t always there, but I grabbed my 300mm lens when I left the house in the morning, and it was nothing for me to duck in on my way to the subway, and snap a few photos. The work was already done.