Traveling with a landscape photographer!
If you’re like me, you have taken a trip with someone that did not share the same passion as you for catching every sunrise and sunset from the golden hour to the blue hour (and beyond). There is a lot of compromise when it comes to traveling with others that do not share this hobby and it should mostly come from the photographer if this was not the intent of the trip. Here are few helpful tips that I have used in the past that have made my past trips successful!
Establish a few ground rules prior to starting your trip.
Figure out what days or times that you want to solely devote to photography. Knowing this ahead of time sets the expectation that you want to put 2 hours aside to go to a location with your camera. Your shoot will be a lot more successful when everyone knows when and where you want to bring your camera out. As you know already, early morning and early evening are the best times, so try to work this into the trip’s schedule.
Get a head start with your images while already on the road!
If you’re like me, some of the best light happens when you are on the road. Try to see if someone else can drive during the golden/blue hour (if you’re not always posting your tripod up somewhere). At least a few photos can be taken from the car while driving! You may find that one amazing composition or S-curve on the road on the way to your destination. This will save you both time if you can get the shot while already on the road! Don’t try to drive and use your camera at the same time!
Sunrise is the best time to photograph when traveling with others!
When others are asleep in the morning, you can get up early and be back before they are even out of bed! This requires a lot of planning to know where you want to go in the morning. Doing research ahead of time is so important for morning shoots. You most likely will not be jumping out of bed, always factor in a few extra minutes in the morning to get ready. How long will it take to get there and back? You might have to sacrifice losing some sleep for this morning trek to work. Some of the best light happens in the morning, try not to stay out too late or you will regret that 5:00AM wakeup call!
Try to practice (a bit of) self control. This is hard for a photographer! Just bring one camera and one lens out for the golden hour. Of course you’ll say to yourself “I wish I brought my other lens” but you can figure out a way to make any shot work with what you have. Your traveling partner will thank you for not bringing out the entire kit. This way you have to more time to spend with each other and less deciding on gear!
Timing is Everything.
Do your research. Knowing the weather, travel times, sunrise/sunset time, golden/blue hour times will help you plan your shoot. If you know that you need to get to your location at a certain time, looking up how long a hike will take is crucial. Plan ahead by eating dinner early or bringing it with you so that you don’t have to worry about getting back after dark. While it may seem like common sense, a lot of hiking maps, blogs, and travel pages will all give you different approximations for how “long” a hike will take or just show one-way estimates. Asking others on the trail is also something that can be quite variable. The more information you can gather prior to going out on the trail the better. If driving to a destination, factor in extra time for traffic as well (especially near big cities).
When traveling with others, always put your relationship first and photography second. This is an ever growing list, but these are some of most important things that may help save your trip. Next time you go on a trip, try to remember these tips so you can have the best of both worlds!