How to Do Scouting for Landscape Photography

by | Aug 14, 2014 | Tips & Tricks | 2 comments

When shooting landscapes, sometimes I just shoot to get the best shot wherever I happen to be. Especially on family vacations or when I am traveling from place to place. But when it comes to a CAPTURE Workshop, it’s a totally different story! I’m up in Alaska now scouting for where exactly we will be going for the CAPTURE Alaska workshop next week. It’s not an easy task! It requires a lot of Internet research and actual on-location scouting.

9683_Chugatch State Park-Alaska-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17 mm, 6.0 sec at f - 22, ISO 100

I want to bring photographers to the best places possible to get the best pictures possible. This means a lot of research. My goal isn’t to do a tour of all the amazing places in Alaska; let a tour bus or cruise ship do that for you. My goal is to find places that are photogenic and plan to be there to shoot them at the most photogenic times of day. We won’t see nearly as much of Alaska as we would on a tour, but sightseeing isn’t our goal. Our goal is to learn how to take “wow” pictures and begin adding a few to our portfolio. In the end, it will feel much more rewarding than a whirlwind pleasure trip for checking icons off a bucket list.

There are a lot of factors to consider in the search for photogenic locations. Here are a few that I can think of off the top of my head, with a few websites that I use to help me find that information:

  • Times of sunrise and sunset – sunrisesunset.com
  • Exact location of the sun at different times of the day (which can vary dramatically depending on latitude) – suncalc.net
  • How light and shadows will fall on the terrain – Google Earth
  • General idea of what the area will look like – Google Images
  • What the weather and temperature will be – timeanddate.com
  • How the natural elements will appear in the area at that time of year – Specific Google searches
  • How far the location is from your point of origin – Google Maps
  • How easy/difficult it will be to access the location – Specific Google searches
  • Fees or requirements there might be in getting to that location – Specific Google searches

9647_Chugatch State Park-Alaska-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24 mm, 4.0 sec at f - 22, ISO 100

I always underestimate the amount of time it takes to do scouting, so it won’t hurt to get started on your scouting for your next grand shooting excursion!

9674_Chugatch State Park-Alaska-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17 mm, 2.0 sec at f - 16, ISO 100

2 Comments

  1. Bethany

    I am quite jealous. Alaska is beautiful! Hope you have a good scouting trip. I am looking forward to the pictures from it. =)

    Reply
  2. James

    I hope you can come up here one day! It really is beautiful. But it’s just like any other place where the beauty is sprinkled around for those who find it and appreciate it.

    Reply

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