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Author Topic: How do you scout new locations?  (Read 12641 times)
batmura
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« on: October 19, 2013, 04:38:41 AM »
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I am interested in learning how you guys scout new locations for your photography? I am mostly talking about landscape work. How do you find certain locations? Do you guys have your own methods like using Google Earth? If you're curious about where a certain photo was taken, what methods do you use to find out? What kind of preparations do you make before travelling to a new city or country? What online sources do you consult? If you need to talk to the locals, how do you approach them?

Thanks!
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degrub
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2013, 01:51:53 PM »
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Google earth, location contour maps (1:40,000 roughly), sunrise/sunset calculator, search the locations threads, local photo clubs, backpacking, etc.

Frank
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stamper
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 04:52:05 AM »
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Log onto Flickr, or something similar and see what others are shooting in a particular area and try to do "better" than what you see.
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NancyP
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 12:29:07 PM »
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I am an amateur, and shoot local scenes. If I see something that I might like to shoot when the light isn't right, I shoot anyway for a reminder of that location. Scouting new locations? Resources include "60 hikes within 60 miles of St. Louis" book (a series with at least 10 cities) and other local and state trail and camping guides; state Department of Natural Resources websites and other state info; National Parks, Forests, Rivers, Wildlife Refuges; word of mouth and hiking/paddling/biking club; tourism guides. I try to drive to sites using unfamiliar roads if possible and if I am not too pressed for time. I am also out for hiking and for wildlife photography, so if I don't find the interesting site at a time with interesting light, I haven't "wasted" time, I have merely taken a photographic "note" of that site.

I note the trail or road, location on trail (on trail map) with mental note on approximate length of time from trailhead and difficulty of terrain, direction of photo if not obvious. iPhone "compass" is a handy thing. I do carry the old-fashioned needle compass too. If appropriate, I may download and print a USGS map.

I am not too productive at the moment. Time and logistics are issues for more distant sites. Thankfully, transportation is less of an issue due to purchase of a reliable Landscape Photography Support Vehicle (aka Subaru Forester).
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k bennett
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 01:57:10 PM »
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I like to check The Photographer's Ephemeris when I have a new location assignment. It lets me see the area using Google maps or satellite view, then check the angle of the sun at various times of day. It's handy for previsualizing.

TPE is free (I think) for computers, and costs a few bucks for phones and tablets. Well worth it.
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tom b
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2013, 03:50:30 AM »
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Some of the things that you can do are:

Visit a local tourist information shop

Visit local art/photographic galleries

Check out Google Maps

Buy a Lonely Planet or equivalent Guide Book.

Preferably I like to be surprised when I visit new locations, so most of the time I want the barest of details. Recently I drove to the Eyre Peninsular, the is very little to see, not much accommodation and long distances, it was certainly a place that needed some planning.

Cheers,
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Fred Salamon
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 01:13:03 AM »
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http://www.panoramio.com and Google Earth
http://www.shothotspot.com/
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andaremos
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2013, 10:23:50 PM »
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I agree with Tom Brown's advice above. I always look for photo exhibitions wherever I go.

Another source for help would be to contact local bloggers in the city or region you are visiting. Even if they are not into photography, they can offer lots of suggestions. I recently did this in a couple of cities I was visiting. I was able to enroll help from a couple of bloggers and we organized Photowalks in Madrid and Zaragoza. The Madrid walk was canceled when the weather turned nasty on us. The Zaragoza one was a success with about 30 people showing up. I am not from those cities but I was able to do it by asking for help from locals. They are always happy to show you around their city. It is a great way to meet new friends. With their help, I hope to do something in the mountains outside those cities next year.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2013, 03:28:35 AM »
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I stay away from other photographers.  In fact, when we (me and my students) see a bunch of cameras pointing a certain way, look 180 from that point.  That's where you'll find the shot.

Really, it would be a shame to travel to a well known location and not take the usual suspects,  but after the first five minutes when you're done with that.. look through fresh eyes.  There is so much out there.  9/10'ths of the work is getting to a decent location at  th perfect time.   The perfect time is when the light transforms  a relatively uninteresting scene into a  piece of natures finest work.   This is what you want, take pictures the masses take because you're there, but then put in the work waiting for the special light that will make your image full of color, depth, and scale.

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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2013, 03:43:56 AM »
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I am interested in learning how you guys scout new locations for your photography? I am mostly talking about landscape work. How do you find certain locations? Do you guys have your own methods like using Google Earth? If you're curious about where a certain photo was taken, what methods do you use to find out? What kind of preparations do you make before travelling to a new city or country? What online sources do you consult? If you need to talk to the locals, how do you approach them?

Thanks!

I ask myself, endlessly and repeatedly, what kind of pictures I want to make.

I second the recommendation of TPE.  Very useful for planning.

TPE recommends ShotHotSpot.  I have only played with it.

I use Google Maps and Google Earth a lot.

But mostly I just get lost with my eyes open and a light data recorder at hand.
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sdwilsonsct
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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2013, 07:55:55 AM »
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Echoing Steve's comments, I think mostly about sun rise and set times, and a weather forecast that looks like it might be interesting.
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