Last we talked about the benefits of planning your landscape photography shoots before you head out for it. Even though having a well-researched location and a solid plan of what you want to shoot during your trip, plans are never set in stone. For one thing, Mother Nature has a habit of regularly throwing plenty of curve-balls at you when you’re out on location. And while there are a lot of weather apps to help you plan and get up to date weather condition changes there are still unexpected things that can occur on the shoot. As a photographer, you should always expect the unexpected to occur.
For example, hypothetically speaking say a heavy rain storm came through the area you wanted to photograph days earlier. Your shoot date is pristine however, the storm did damage in the area. The aftermath of the storm could be alterations to a landscape, such as changes in water levels and even more dramatic events like landslides. All of these changes could affect your plan and could alter the scene dramatically or even prevent you from getting to your chosen location on time.
Finalizing Your Plan
This is where it pays off to have a back-up plan in place. First, if it is a location you have never been to before and you are traveling a distance to get there arriving a day earlier may be beneficial to you; especially if you are planning a sunrise landscape photo shoot. Nothing is worse than stumbling around in the dark and breaking a bone. Arriving a day early allows you the leisure of scoping out your shoot locations first (in the day light) and finalize where you would like to position yourself for the shoot the following day for the most optimal details. Take note of any things that could be a distraction or out of place; with these findings make any adaptions to your plan or make a plan to remove the distractions in post-production. Secondly, you can take note of safety issues of the location you plan to shoot; if marshes and water is involved you will be able to find high ground and exit areas. This is especially important if the water ways are tidal, we as photographers can get carried away at a shoot and lose track of time easily; getting tracked or worse yet getting caught up, by the tide can be deadly.
The Day of The Landscape Photo Shoot
The night before you should go to bed early and get plenty of rest; this will allow you to wake early and be out at the location quickly. Its recommended to allow some time for set up and last minute things. We usually try to get to the shoot location at the very least 30 minutes before we think we might want to start shooting. So if sunrise is about 7:13 am we’re on sight by 6:40. This gives us plenty of time to set up and then watch the show so to speak.
The bottom line is that no plan is perfect, there are always going to be pitfalls when it comes to landscape photography shoots. However, with research, a plan and time to explore you will be able to focus more of your attention on the subject and less on how to overcome an obstacle in order to get your shot on the spot.