Friday, November 23, 2007

Scouting in Tennessee

We're in a hotel room in Tennessee today. We're scouting Smoky Mountain National Park and the surrounding area. Once we know what we want to photograph, we'll choose the right time of year and come back. We will take some shots this weekend, but we intend to return at a later date.

Our scouting trips are invaluable - we'll hike as many trails as we can, explore the area, do the research, and make note of potential locations for future trips. Then we'll decide when to return - we'll determine which season will suit the location best, what time of day, what compositions will have the most impact... and we'll track sun/moon rise/set times, reference tidal charts, look at peak bloom and autumn color times, find out which direction the light will be coming from at a given time of day at a given time of year, memorize topographical maps... and so on. And finally, when the time comes, we know exactly what we need to do. Then we can focus on getting the best possible shot - rather than wandering around looking for a location.

We drove through Cumberland Gap this evening - the beautiful clouds cleared out before the light was right, but we did find a few locations for another day. We drove a little further South to stay the night so we could be in Smoky Mountain National Park tomorrow morning before sunrise. I've just requested a 5 am wake up call - that's late, really. Sunrise is later this time of year, so we get to "sleep in". :) We intend to shoot a few waterfalls and take a look at some of the historic buildings in the area. And we'll spend a good part of the day hiking.

I'm shooting with a 1Ds Mark II this weekend - at the request of the guys who print our images on canvas. I made sure I had the batteries, charger, memory cards, and manual - and my tripod and computer and battery pack. I even took the time to learn the controls before we left - there's no way I could have a Mark II in my house and keep my hands off it. :) I remembered everything - except the "quick mount" plate for the ball head... it is still screwed into my 20D body. It's difficult to attach the camera to the tripod without that piece, but I'll remove the clamp and screw the camera directly onto the ball head - so all is not lost. And I'm glad I forgot it on this trip - rather than our trip to Utah next week. I'll make sure I have it for that. Still... I'm kicking myself.

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