Friday, October 16, 2009

Q and A - Finding the Balance - Part 2

...continued from Q and A - Finding the Balance - Part 1...

Before we leave home, we do some serious research. We're looking for sunrise and sunset times, weather patterns, tide charts, topographical maps, various shooting locations, and the advice of park rangers, local residents, and other photographers. We make sure we know a lot about a variety of potential shooting locations.

Even with good information, we never decide exactly where we'll shoot until we're on location. We may plan a trip months in advance, but we wait until we're there to decide where to shoot. We're watching weather patterns to make sure we have the best possible conditions... and we're willing to drive long distances to reach the best destinations. Our plans are constantly changing based upon cloud cover, humidity levels, and the angle of the sun.

If the weather is bad or the light isn't right for shooting, we explore the area. We look for locations with interesting foreground and background - and we note the topography of the area for future reference. We'll return to choice spots when conditions are right - maybe a day or two later, and maybe on another trip. We try not to waste any of our travel time, so that future trips might be more fruitful.

Although most of our trips are child-free, the kids do travel with us about once a year. This year, they joined us for a trip to Michigan, and last year, we went to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and Dinosaur National Monument. We've also been to Florida and Colorado with the kids. Those trips are generally geared towards the children rather than photography - so we're less likely to shoot for our portfolios when the kids are with us. However, if the skies are fantastic, they can listen to a story in the car or play nearby while we shoot. These shots were taken from the side of the road in Yellowstone National Park - the kids were listening to a music CD while we photographed the storm clouds at sunset. :)

When the children are with us we choose locations that are child-friendly (no 2000 foot cliffs!), and we looked for daytime lighting conditions that accent the location. Waterfalls, for example, are just beautiful in overcast conditions - and small children are fascinated by the falling water.

...continued on Q and A - Finding the Balance - Part 3...

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