You're going to read how I plan a photography trip from the couch.
People say that photography is 80% business and 20% actually shooting and whilst most of us would like it the other way round, unfortunately, this is pretty much the case. So it pays to prepare, fail to plan, plan to fail.
I going to give you an insight on how I plan a location to shoot and we will start with the easy stuff first Astrophotography :-)
Once you understand the camera and settings on how to shoot Astrophotography, the next biggest issue is location and weather but in today's world this can be planned from the comfort of your couch or the bath tub although it differ from the real environment.
Where to shoot, will it be dark enough, how do I get there and so the list grows but fortunately for us all, there is an app for that.
When planning a shoot I always break it down into bite size chunks and make coffee.
Location: Google your local area or hometown and add Astro to the end of the search, search for images, do the same if you are looking to travel to a different location, Expand your search onto social media and check out what others have done at the location, what's around, does it have foreground interest or any interesting features , is it easy to get to or how far is it. Google Maps and Google earth are also great for this kind of research.
Dark skies: Will the location have light pollution, well you have guessed it, there is an app for that, great for checking and planning. (Tip: you do not always need a complete dark sky to shoot the stars or milky way).
Moon Phase: When is the moon rise or moon set on any given day what phase the moon is it on any given day this can be critical information if you want to shoot the moon or not.
Weather: The biggest challenge is always the weather, there are so many weather apps and its difficult to choose just one, so I use a couple to check the weather, even hourly on the day ( be assured they are not 100% correct).
The wind speed and direction as you don't want to be heading out in a force 10 gale.
Tides (if I heading to the ocean) as this can make or break an image if the tides are wrong and also saves on wet feet and being uncomfortable all night long.
Now we need to know where the stars and milky way is going to be in the sky so we know what time to get to the location again apps come to the rescue enabling me to plan accurately, saving me time or even a wasted trip, when you could be toasty warm in bed. I have had plenty of them
Easy right, but as you can see from the above it takes a little time and effort and once you have got use to the apps then it becomes second nature.
I have not listed the apps as these are the ones that I like and use they are forever changing as well due to new technology or recommendations from people., there are so many out there on both the Apple apps store and Google play its best if you find what you like and work on getting to know them intimately as they will become your best planning friend.
I enjoy the planning aspect and can plan week or months in advance for trip that I am about to take.