Thursday, December 3, 2009
Keep a "Places" Journal (And Stop Losing Those Pretty Red Barns)
For a travel photographer, one of the most frustrating things in the world is to find a great photo location and then lose it. I know, because I've done it a lot. The problem is that I like to wander a lot, especially when I'm exploring someplace new, and since I'm concentrating more on things like finding interesting shots, waiting for great lighting and wondering where I'm going to stop and get a burger, I often forget to make notes about exactly where I was when I shot the pictures. A few weeks later I'm back home and editing photos and scratching my head looking at maps trying to piece the trip back together again.
A far better way, of course, is to just keep a notebook handy in your shooting vest or on the dash of your car and keep notes and directions for re-finding locations. I don't go back to the same places all that often, but there are certain pretty places, like this red barn in Iowa, that I would love to shoot again (perhaps in a different season) if I was back in that part of Iowa. I know roughly where I shot it and I can picture the road in my head, but I'm not at all sure I could find it on a map. Had I just written down the route number and the nearest cross street, finding it would be a breeze.
I'm sure that in the next few generations of digital cameras there will be geotagging/GPS included in the EXIF data and keeping a road journal will be a thing of the past, but for now, it's worth writing down where you were when you shot some of your favorite pictures. Besides, while GPS might be a cool techno thing to play with, it's not like you can stuff theme-park brochures or diner menus into it the way you can with a notebook or journal. And if you're going back to the same area to photograph you'll definitely want to remember where the best burgers in town were...though to be honest, I rarely have trouble remembering that.