Getting Excited before a Photo Trip

Do you get excited before embarking on a photo trip?

If you do then you have company! I leave tomorrow to take our son, James, to the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Georgia, for submarine training. My wife, Denise, found a photo destination for me to do some wildlife photography on Cumberland Island, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. I am hoping to see and photograph alligators, sea turtles, birds, turkey, and more.

The planning and packing are nearly finished now, but I am still a little nervous about this trip. I will be camping and hiking in the backcountry wilderness and the island doesn’t have any stores or anything to buy in terms of food or essentials. You have to pack it all in and out yourself! this obviously requires adequate and complete planning. Many years ago I did some extreme backcountry hiking and camping but that was many moons ago. Will I remember all I need to survive comfortably?

Also, I never encountered an alligator in the wild. I saw some at an alligator farm one time in Florida but that is completely different. I also heard there are three poisonous snakes on Cumberland Island. To make matters even more interesting, I just weighed my backpack today and it weighed it at exactly 55 pounds! Hmmm, and this is supposed to be fun? Yes, it will be fun; loads of fun and I can’t wait! I am extremely excited before this photo trip!

Don’t Wait – Reformat that flash card now!

I am a procrastinator and this gets me into trouble in a variety of ways. And as a photographer it does not pay to be a procrastinator.

Take, for example, the simple task of uploading photos from a flash card to a computer. This is a simple step and only takes a few minutes, so why wait to do it? As soon as you get back from a photo shoot it makes sense to start this process. Then, once the photos have been transferred and backed up, reformat that flash card. Don’t wait!

Here’s the danger. Let’s suppose that you have an unexpected photo opportunity early one morning that came from out of the blue. You didn’t know it was coming and your flash cards are full. Did you back up the photos on these cards? Is it okay to reformat these cards or are there important photographs on them that need to be transferred? See the problem? If you had just transferred the photos right after the last shoot and reformatted the cards you wouldn’t be facing this annoying dilemma.

So don’t wait. Process your photos, back them up, and reformat your flash cards as soon as possible. One day you’ll be glad you did!

Old Fashioned Drawing Diagrams Can Help

I am a computer geek and prefer using the computer for just about everything possible. In fact, I’m not sure what I would do without a computer!

However, I still know the value of good old pen and paper. Drawing diagrams can help in planning a photo shoot. Where is the main light? Should you add a fill light and where should it be placed? How about your subject–where is it in relation to everything else? What about the camera–should it be at a low angle?

Admittedly, this is quite difficult when photographing wildlife, but just about every photo subject can be better photographed with advanced planning. I certainly am no artist, but diagrams definitely help me in the planning stages of a shoot. These diagrams allow me to think ahead and do some planning before I even get to the location.

I find these diagrams very useful. Give it a try. Before you go to you next photo shoot take some time to draw up a diagram or two and see if they help.

Success is in the Planning

When you go on a photo shoot do you just grab your gear and go or do you make extensive plans ahead of time?

I actually enjoying the planning stage. Researching subjects and locations is lots of fun to me. I read magazine articles, books, search the internet, look at other photographer’s galleries, and watch television programs that are pertinent. I also se a spreadsheet to help make sure I don’t forget anything important. I use the spreadsheet to track my checklists and compile my research notes. It works for me!

I am currently preparing to get ready for the baseball season. The local high school has asked me to shoot some of their games and assemble a presentation for their end-of-the-year banquet. So I just sat down with the baseball schedule and marked the games I am free to attend and photograph. Then I entered these games into my PDA calendar. This is just one step in the planning. Previously, I emailed the contact person in the Booster Club and created a “plan of attack” for the season. I also will have more planning to do, and this is important. Closer to the game days, I will follow more detailed checklists for charging batteries, reformatting flash cards, and taking all the gear I need to each game.

Some people look at all this planning as a big chore and a big bore! I do not. I actually enjoy the planning stages because in my mind’s eye I can envision myself at the photo shoot and I know I will have a much better chance of getting the shots I am after thanks to all this planning.

After all, success is found in the planning!