As you know we just got back from a trip to TN. If you know me then you know that is where I am from originally and where I first fell in love with photography. I am started the planning phase early. Not the day to day activities but the overall trip. Where I want to go and the things I want to see. I am not one to plan every single detail but there is some thought that needs to go into the times that you photograph. Shooting wide landscape shots from the Foothills Parkway is not the greatest thing in the middle of the day. Sunrise is something special though. I have been to the mountains hundreds of times and I have a few spots that are "old faithfuls". I will surly visit those the first couple of days and spend the less photographic times scouting some new areas and estimating the best time of day to be there. This time I am going to try and hit some of the less known places and do a little bit of hiking.
Things to look for when you are planning a trip:
Weather: This can change in a moments notice but having an understanding of recent weather patterns may help you plan your locations. For example: The area around the Great Smoky Mountains (GSM)has been in the mid 90's. That is hot for that area this time of year!!! What does that tell me? Well, it tells me that the morning will be misty and great for intimate landscapes but the sweeping majestic landscapes will likely be so hazy that photographs of them will be well.... yucky. I will check them out for sure but I am not holding my breath.
Traffic: Places like the GSM are bombarded with visitors. The GSM National Park is the MOST visited National Park in the country. Millions flood there every year. If you try to make it up there after the sun comes up you will set in traffic for 3 to 4 hours. Get up early to beat the traffic. Naturally, if you want sunrise you will have to do this anyway. The trip that might take 4 hours will take 25min. if you drive through around 4:30am. It is worth it to go early and nap in the car.
People: Try to find areas that are not so littered with people. Get out in the forest and see what few really get to see.
Food: Pack your lunch... If you don't do this your hunger may get the best of you and cause you to stop early to feed the beast. Many shots will be missed while you are hanging out at Denny's.
Hotels: I am fortunate that my parents live there and are only 45min from the top of the GSM. That is where I will be staying. If I were not staying with them I would try to find the hotel closest to the area of interest.
Mates: Lets face it folks...our significant others are not all photographers. The idea of spending an entire day in the woods is not their first choice...it may not even be on their list! If they go with you don't count on being in one spot long. Some, like mine, are actually content setting in the car reading a book. That is a happy medium for me but still limits any hikes. Spend time with the family and pick a day (or two) to leave them doing something they like.
Well, that is all for this post. Thanks for reading and I hope you take some of this advice.