Preparing for a photography trip!

Hello and Welcome!

I am headed to Acadia National Park for the Out of Chicago conference. I am super excited to meeting one of my photography gurus, Sean Bagshaw. So this particular trip the focal point is Acadia National Park. You always want to think about what you want to get out of the trip. My last two trips, I focused on my astrophotography. This one, I am focused on learning.

Any trip you take, you need to do careful preparation so you have as many “shots on goal”, opportunities to take pictures, as possible. The earlier you start your planning the better. I usually start planning 3-6 months in advance so I can get the best rates on cars, planes and accommodations. Here is my thought process.

*Goals: What do I want to get out of the trip? Will fulfilling those goals accomplish what I am setting out to do? Can I fulfill only some goals and still consider the trip a success? For this particular trip the primary goal is to learn from other photographers. However, the is a return trip to Maine for me so I have some ideas of what I want to do.

*Location: Sometimes you choose the location, others, like travel for work, the location is chosen for you. ALWAYS think of travel as an opportunity to photograph. Make sure you explore the possibilities of what there is to photograph. Acadia is located in the central coastline of Maine. My focus for taking pictures will be the coast (in addition to Acadia). I am fascinated with seascapes, lighthouses and fishing. It is also Fall!

*Time of year: This is an important consideration not only for the type of photography, but how crowded places will be affecting accommodations and your ability to shoot. The second week of October is when I am going. Perfect Fall colors. Thus, I will want to consider locations with excellent foliage to compliment things like barns and fields.

*Amount of time: This will really dictate what you can get done in your photography goals. On one hand making sure you have plenty of time for a particular shot, on the other not missing chances at a variety of shots in a variety of places. Always be flexible! The acadia conference is from Sunday evening until Thursday morning. I decided to take an entire week off of work (yeah I have another job). This gives me a Saturday sunset and Sunday sunrise plus exploration time before I arrive at Acadia.

*What camera equipment to pack: I really try to be as light as possible. I only bring specialized equipment (tripod, macro lens, light painting equipment) if I have a plan for it. There is nothing more frustrating than hauling a drone around for a week and never using it. For most trips, I simply take one body, a 24-105mm walk around lens. My laptop. Lots of extra memory cards (up to twelve 32-128 GB). At least one backup hard drive. Five extra batteries. At least 2 of each type of charger (battery, iphone, computer etc). Sensor and lens cleaning equipment. For this particular trip I am bringing everything except for my drone, some light painting equipment, and my star tracker. There will be many photographers to learn from and I want to be flexible.

*What else to pack: Of course it all depends on the conditions you will be experiencing. You might be going in the middle of summer but planning on night shoots at 10,000 ft! I do make sure I have multiple pairs of socks, favorite snacks if traveling overseas. Most of the time, I take the attitude, if I need it, I can buy it there.