- Create a research file for each location. For my upcoming cruise I already know where we are going day by day. So I start a file for each location and start compiling information. At the least I'll get the Wikipedia entry for every site as background.
- Dig up photos. Just knowing what the place looks like is invaluable, so I'll hit several of the Internet photo sites like Flickr or the major stock photo sites like Corbis or Getty. Besides clueing me in to the photographic possibilities, this research can also show me what angles have already become clichés to be avoided. And I'll find angles I didn't expect from locations I hadn't imagined. Armed with these I'll be better prepared to push the expected.
- Ransack guidebooks and photo books. Guidebooks tend to show the standard scenes but they are comprehensive. Photo books show what a devoted photographer can make of a place. Both of these help me expand my expectations.
- Research your destination to death. Turn to online search engines to seek out-of-the-ordinary shots of your destinations. Once, when preparing for a trip to Ireland, I searched the term "Celtic priest" and the results turned up Dara Malloy on Inishmore. Dara performs Celtic weddings in a 900-year-old church. A quick phone call to Dara revealed he had a couple coming from Tokyo to be married, which resulted in a photo in National Geographicmagazine.
- Look for places and events that are seasonal and timeless. Open your mind to what might be a picture subject. Most travelers tend to think only of places, without delving deeper into culture, history, and meaning. I try to get in time with the rhythm of the place and in tune with its melody.
|Photograph courtesy Jim Richardson|