This is how I find (new) photography locations.
If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to photograph that same background over and over again, but rather create a vibrant mix of colors and textures and have fun along the way. To create variety, there are 2 main factors. First of all, there is creativity and vision, which is mostly about how you capture a moment or place. For this, you don’t need to do more than use your eyes, brain, and camera. (of course, you can always do more! – and yes, that’s a challenge 🙂 ) The second key is looking for different types of locations.
I’ll warn you now: it’s not always easy. Even if you live in the most incredible place, finding good locations is not only about beauty but also about light, timing and the eye. I can be utterly disappointed when I’m just a bit too late, there are too many people ruining my view or the snow had melted just before, but well, those things happen.
Perhaps you remember that I moved abroad little over a year ago, leaving city life to live closer to nature, but my methods to find locations are pretty much the same.
The tools I use (yes, I’m rather old skool):
– google maps
– car (to drive around)
– and not to forget: ears for when others talk about a location 🙂
Often, I don’t want to know too much about a new place or an area, just to keep the fun of exploring on feet. I take the dogs for a walk and I keep my eyes open for nice places, beautiful light, and textures. Once I want to dig deeper into the possibilities or main locations of an area I use either Google to find interesting buildings/tourist places/… or google maps to randomly look for open places in the forest, lakes, special roads or anything that can catch my attention.
Here in Sweden, location spotting can take me a whole day (or even several days) for a few markings on a map but the good thing is that I always find a place to park my car :). Once I arrive at a destination I take some photographs, if it’s interesting, including different angles. For places that I am really interested in or that inspire me right away, I write down ideas and visit the places in different seasons to see if I can access them, what it looks like and how far the sun can reach. I adore the low winter light in Sweden but it’s also crazy different from summer light and many places don’t see direct sunlight for months.
Sometimes the many possibilities of an area aren’t clear right away so this is what I look for:
– interesting corners
– special trees or shapes in nature
– Objects to place the dogs on like tree trunks, rocks, benches, …
– elements that tell something about a location like tires for a farm or typical local benches or fences.
– guiding lines that you can use for your composition
– the direction of the light- I prefer to work with sunlight so if I want to catch the first rays of light of the day, I need to know where they will show up.
– textures on the ground that are different/interesting/… it can be colorful tiles, beach sand, beautiful moss,…
– open fields for action shots (so there will be as little distraction in the background as possible)