We rarely ask for photographic suggestions from people we meet during our photo safaris. The reason is simple. We have learned through painful experience just about all the suggestions we get from local folks have never panned out. This is not an indictment of the people we ask for suggestions. Just about everyone we meet on our photo safaris are not photographers. Their ability to figure out what I like to photograph just after meeting me is highly unlikely. It only took us about fifteen years to figure this out.
Developing Local Knowledge is something you have to do yourself. It’s much easier now that it used to be. Our process for getting local knowledge is still evolving. Google is your friend. Maps, images, travel reviews, forums and such are essential for helping us figure out where we wanted to photograph. The internet is invaluable in getting you started in finding out about locations. The internet also can put you in touch with other photographers. Our connection with Guy Tal in Torrey, Utah, made through the internet was valuable, not only for this trip, but for future trips to Utah.
Finally, there is no substitute for spending the time in one location, developing a feel for the location you are photographing. Another one of our incredible discoveries from our experience in photo safaris is that you cannot photograph and drive at the same time. All the time you spend driving reduces the time you can photograph. If you pretty much stay in one in place you will have more time to photograph which will lead to better photographs. The time we spent in one location gave us the time to see each location under different lighting, the ability to come back to things we didn’t see the first time, and opportunity to revisit locations to try additional compositions. Staying put means you get more and better photographs.
Now, dear reader, I shall make one of this blog’s infrequent foray into the world of photographic hardware, specifically, the analog image stabilizer or tripod. I have photographed with a tripod since, well, forever. It was a necessity for the decades of view camera use and the practice has carried over to the digital age. I use a Feisol CT-3301 tripod. My previous practice was to extend the height of the middle section of a three section tripod. The disadvantage to this is when I would like to make the legs longer I have to extend the bottom section of the leg. It was a hassle to do. On this past trip, I decided (I have no idea why) to extend the lowest section of the leg first to get the necessary height. What this did was make the change in leg height come from the middle section of the leg, not the bottom. I don’t have to bend over or pick up the tripod to extend each leg. Now, I can loosen the section lock of the middle section , raise the tripod and get the height I need. (There are probably a bunch of folks out there that are already doing that very thing and calling me a big dummy. You’re probably right.) This is one of those stupid things that you don’t ever think about, but once you do it, you wonder why it took so long for you to figure it out.
In the pictures are worth a thousand words department, here's what it looks like.
Tripod leg with middle section fully extended.
any extra height comes from the middle
section of the tripod leg. Less bending required.