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I've touched on the subject in a previous post – planning ahead.
This is a fun subject for me because it comes with the excitement of travel. Planning a trip and planning a photo tour goes very much hand in hand.
But how do you do that exactly? What parts should be planned (and to what level of detail) and can something be left to chance?
This obviously is a very personal choice, some people don't plan at all, they just head out and work with whatever they find. That's not me though, I need to know in advance what lies ahead. Not all of it but a solid framework should be in place.
So, for a day trip for example, if I know the place I thought about what pictures I want to come home with and what I need to do to get them. I have looked at the weather, time of day and minor things like opening times. There is a local state park near where we live and it is open from sunrise to sunset. The unusual thing about this one is that it has automatically locking gates, they are triggered by a timer and once they close that's it. You either stay the night or call the emergency number and someone will let you out for a rather hefty fee. I've been there twice now for sunset and on both occasions other visitors were caught by surprise by the gate and got locked in. This is the type of thing planning can avoid. The ability to read signs helps too.
On the other side I would also argue that too much planning might suffocate you. Within the framework there should be a lot of space for spontaneous decisions. Along the road is a sign pointing to something interesting? Someone put it there for a reason so the least one can do is to check it out.
On longer trips I rarely have more than two fixed destinations for each day – and one of them usually is rather small. Like finding the Buckets of Blood Street in Holbrook, AZ and take a picture of it. I just think it's hilarious that a street can have a name like this. But a good portion of the day is left to chance and what I find along the way. Obviously part of the plan is to choose a road that a potential for interesting places. And these roads are really easy to find. On paper maps it's those thin white lines that don't seem to connect anything, they are just there to drive on and explore. It's also the type of road your satnav will not send you to because they will extend your traveling time and no algorithm will ever be able to understand why that can be a good thing.
So my secret for finding new and interesting pictures is to plan ahead and build enough leeway into it so I can feel free and it appears I don't even have a plan. As they say – it's not about the destination, it's about everything in between.
And what is your secret?
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