Tip of the Week: Preparing for a Trip

I’m going to start doing more of this because I do get alot of questions in relation to taking pictures and photography in general. I’m also, happy to say that I have looked into expanding on this website to include potentially some videos that will show some live action as I edit and hopefully make it more interactive. I appreciate everyone who comes and visits the site every day and I’m glad you’ve decided to stop by and make The Semi-Regular Roaming Lama a little more regular.

Photo of the Day – A River Runs Through It

Travel Photography Preparation

I realize that travel and photography don’t always mesh. Most of the time when you go on vacation you are going to relax and to get away so waking up for ideal light before sunrise doesn’t always jive with the ideal R/R retreat. However, even without perfect light there are still a number of things you can do before your trip to give yourself a better chance of getting photos that your friends will actually want to look at on Facebook or Google+ that are the same mundane and tired photos.

1) The most obvious point I think is to take the ‘key’ shots first and foremost. If you come to Chicago and didn’t take pictures of the buildings and the skyline people would wonder what was wrong with you…so make you sure you take the obvious. Bad lighting or good lighting that is what people are going to ask to see so make sure to give it to them…however, if given a choice always pick the good lighting so it doesn’t wind up looking like something that could have been taken by a throw away camera.

2) Google – Doing a simple Google Image search for the location you are going is the first thing I do before even booking my plane ticket. Once I know that I’m going somewhere – whether for work or pleasure – I get all excited and search on Google to see what kind of cool stuff I’ll see when I get there. The best thing with the Google image search is that you will actually find some buildings or picture taking opportunities that you may not have known were even there.

Seattle Images

3) Stuck on Earth – This app for iPad and I think the Android systems is one of my favorites. It is similar to Google+ in that I use it to seek out new areas but all of its images are sourced from Flickr. As a result the pictures contained in the app bounce from the really good (nice lighting, sharp skylines) to really bad (pictures of Grandma standing in front of the Sears Tower building) but once you find a few good photographers and ‘follow’ them in that particular location the whole world of images open up. Alot of times these are going to be pictures from people who live in the area and take a lot of pictures there. As a result you are going to find locations that you would have struggled to find on Google. Most of the images are geotagged and provide pretty close locations to where the shot was taken so you can find the spot pretty easy. In addition, when you save an image it will store it in the app so you can access it later even without a wifi signal.

4) Use the Power of Social Media – I don’t know alot of people in Seattle but I do know alot of photographers live there so reach out to them via Google+, Facebook and/or Twitter to see if they have any ideas. Photographers in general seem to be a pretty nice bunch and they enjoy sharing their experience and knowledge with others.
Google+ Question

5) Check out a local calendar of events to see if there is anything interesting going on in town that week – a parade, a convention, a concert, etc… alot of cities/areas have local events that you can check out that will help add some flavor for the local people that your friends and family will appreciate.

6) Do yourself a favor and make a list compiling what you learned in steps 2 – 5. You aren’t going to remember when you are out there so either right down a few things or add them to Evernote on your iPhone to make sure you don’t forget something while you are in the new location. For most of us, travel is a benefit of what we are doing and not necessarily a fulltime job so we have to make the most of our time in a place. If you are looking to take some photos and follow steps 1 – 4 above you won’t be disappointed by what you come home with.

7) Bonus….Try, just try once to get up for one sunrise – use the Photographer’s Ephemeris App and plan out a day and place where you will shoot the sunrise. Even if you aren’t a morning person catching the good light will give you at least something to go back to your friends and family with.

I’ll do a post later on gear but if you are looking for a travel backpack for when you do travel this is the one that I use. It is a CaseLogic SLR bag and it is on sale right now for $40 at Frys.com and I think it is awesome and this price is unbeatable so if you are in the market for one give this one a try. I love the waterproof bottom and the flexibility of all the inner compartments to shape and contort to my various lenses.