I am getting ready to spend a week with family on the West coast and there will be at least a little time for photography (I make sure there is always time for photography). I thought it might be nice to spend just a few minutes sharing some of my tips for researching locations.

For the actual planning of where to stay- I used a mix of Hotels.com, AirBnB and Kayak.com.  I will also use Google Maps to search out accommodations.   Once the home away from home is booked I start the serious planning of where I am going to shoot (sometimes I reverse this order – planning where I want to shoot and then booking the accommodations, but when traveling with family I don’t always have the full say 😉


Back to Google Maps for Planning – I use the very nice “My Places” feature to mark the hotel, nearby places to eat and of course potential photo spots.

Switching to Satellite view I start to explore – Google has a a photo layer that can be displayed on the map.   Again I mark interesting locations and I often think about the time of day it would be best to visit.   The Photographers Ephemerisis a great tool for planning the direction of the sun and to give you an idea of the golden hour.   If the trip is going to be along the edge of the ocean checking tide tables is often a good idea too.


An alternative to Google’s photo layer (powered by http://www.panoramio.com/) is Flickr.  Flickr has a map tool that lets you see all of the geolocated photos for a location, Flickr also allows you to sort by recent photos, with a click you can be looking at photos yesterday – which may give you a much better sense of the current conditions for the area.

Anything interesting goes back on the My Places Google Map I started with – this is accessible from my phone and with a few taps I can be following turn by turn directions to choice spots.



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