Not so recently I was in Canyonlands National Park for a sunrise shoot through Mesa Arch. There were a number of other photographers there before sunrise. What was a surprise was the degree of not prepared.
- Several people didn’t have tripods, so they couldn’t take photos other than setting the camera on a rock.
- Others didn’t know how to operate their cameras
- Still others didn’t know how to put the camera on the tripod
- Only about half had a flashlight or headlamp.
All of the above doesn’t mean that you can’t get nice images, it is just harder to get good images; your options are more limited. Learning to be prepared can occur via the school of problems, or you can get some coaching so that you are more likely to be successful. Being unprepared may mean you miss the shot you wanted, or that it doesn’t turn out as well as you would like.
Take the sunrise shoot at mesa arch; someone who has shot there previously can tell you how long it takes to drive, and then walk to the arch. What lens combinations work from each location. Which locations work for sunrise, what works for sunset. Or you can do like we did figure out the mileage and the walking distance and make an estimate. In our case, we did not allocate enough time and I had to run on the trail in the dark.
Ask someone who has been where you want to go and see what tips you can get.
Ask and answer these questions for yourself
- How much time will it take me to get setup?
- How long to get there?
- How long to set up?
- Do I know where I am going?
- What equipment do I need? (trying to get a shot under pressure, when it is the first time with the equipment is a recipe for failure!)
- Do I have the equipment I need? Is it pre setup? or am I going to fumble when I get there?
- Do I know how to use the equipment?
- Is the equipment ready? (clean, batteries, media, extra batteries for the cold)
- Do I have the non camera gear that I need?
- Snacks; an army or an individual marches on their stomachs
- The right clothes; few things are more miserable than freezing (sub zero & breeze) and not having the right clothes.
- Map/directions, permits
- Am I planning on meeting someone? If so how are we going to rendezvous?
- Is the car gassed and ready?
The Boy Scouts really have something with ‘Be Prepared’