Photography Tips: Planning For A Photography Trip

Oh my God! It happened. Again. I went for a photography trip to one of the most beautiful cities in the US, Saint Louis, Missouri. I had my camera in my hand, food and drink in place, and GPS fully charged. The 5 hours driving from Fairfield, Iowa, was really fun. Until I realized that I left my camera battery being charged at home. The photography trip was now just a trip.I’m pretty sure at some point in your career as a photographer, you will be in a situation like this. For this reason, I would like to share some tips with you for when you plan photography trips.1. Months before leavingPlanning for a photography trip starts at this time. As soon as the trip is confirmed, try to look for the highlights of the places you will be visiting. I would do a little bit of research about where to take photos from and what to take photos of. For example, if you are coming to Indonesia in the middle of August, you may encounter independence day events there.Early bird bookings for hotels and flights will cost you less. Book a hotel which gives you easy access to your photography spots. I would write down a list of locations where I will be taking pictures from, and then decide the best location of my hotel.2. Weeks before the dayI would spend more time on planning what photos I want to capture at this stage of planning my photography trip. For instance, if I were to travel to Indonesia in the middle of August, I would be taking photos of the independence day ceremony in the morning, fun events in the afternoon. Then in the evening I would take photos of the local sunset.By properly planning your photography trips, you will be able to dig deeper for more thoughts and ideas. Look at pictures available on the internet and get inspired by them. But not only from the internet, you can also search local photographs from libraries, image directories, photo books, local websites, and tourism guidebooks.This is a process which may take some time because you never know when inspirations hit.At this point of the photography trip planning, I would also check my equipment. I would check if any of my gear is not working well and have them repaired right away if necessary. Servicing them now is the best because they must be ready by the time you depart.3. Few days before the tripKeep in mind that some places don’t provide internet access. Therefore it is much better if you write down, or print, every note you would need, such as local shops, tourist office, and local sunrise and sunset time. Weather forecast is also an important information to be noted.It would be better if you start making a list of what to bring for the photography trip. Sometimes you might forget some items if you think of them 1-2 days before the trip.4. 1 day before the tripI would pack the camera and its equipment first. The last thing you want to discover is missing your spare battery or camera lenses at home. Have a last check on the weather forecast. Print all documents you will need for the photography trip. Make sure you have the memory card(s) ready.5. D-dayCheck and recheck for the last time before you leave. It doesn’t hurt you to have an extra checking, rather than regretting that you left an important piece of gear at home. Camera lenses, formatted memory cards, spare battery, and your travel documents should be rechecked.Insurance, cash money, taxi reservation, flight ticket, and passport are usually the most important travel documents which you should not forget to bring. Other than that you are set and ready to go.I hope these tips will make your photography trip be more fun and memorable. Have fun and enjoy your trip!

2012 Travel Tips for the Social Activist

Is the daily work grind or the continual schoolwork bringing you down? Is your wanderlust inner voice telling you you’re ready for a travel vacation? Yet this year you want a different travel objective, not the typical vacation, designed around personal pleasure and leisure. This year you also feel a desire to get involved with some worthy cause, to challenge the power elite status quo and make the world a better place to live. Well, if travel AND social activism are your interests, I have the 2012 travel tip solutions that will please both your traveling and social activist desires.1. My first recommended travel destination for 2012 is Chantilly, Virginia, USA host to this year’s annual Bilderberg meeting May 31st – June 3rd. Chantilly, Virginia, at the Westfield Marriot Hotel, was the host for the 2008 Bilderberg meeting.Chantilly, Virginia is within close proximity to Washington, D.C.; the nation’s capitol offers a unique historical, cultural experience as well as a great place to voice dissent! Fortunately too, for the budget traveler, Chantilly has a youth hostel on the outskirts of the Washington, D.C. area. Why not book your reservations now, and enjoy the beautiful Virginia countryside and Washington, D.C. cultural activities while also vocalizing your displeasure to a passing banker, politician, or corporate CEO? Your opinions and discussions may plant the inception seed activating a pang of conscience that will eventually lead to less harmful world policies. If you discover the overt sidewalk protests are less successful, may I suggest an alternative, stealth approach: position yourself as a well-dressed hotel patron in the lobby where the Bilderberg members are staying. Act as an unassuming gadfly, listening for telling conversations from Bilderberg meeting attendees.Granted, such intimate access may prove to be difficult; however, for the determined spirited social activist, the challenge enhances the adventure and the success sweetens the reward.Are you ready for summer outdoor fun, a freelance journalist’s dream, and a proud sense of moral accomplishment? That’s what I experienced when I planned my fall 2000 vacation in Europe to coincide with the scheduled IMF / World Bank meeting in Prague. A well-organized anti-globalization protest was waiting for the banking attendees, similar to the successful anti-WTO protest in Seattle, November ’99, which I attended. I wanted to continue being a part of this proud movement.I’m certain at the Washington, D.C. youth hostel, and around town, you will meet kindred spirits who are also knowledgeable of this Bilderberg meeting event (global citizen individuals and various NGO members). As I had experienced during the Seattle ’99 and Prague 2000 protests, you will form lasting friendships with these fellow travelers / activists.2. To start your summer season, I recommend planning a visit to Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico for the annual G-20 meeting, June 18-19. What fun you will have mixing summer outdoor fun with social activism. Cabo San Lucas offers scuba diving, fishing, nightlife, and so much more. Even though the rich elite will be staying at expensive resorts, there are ample inexpensive lodging options at Los Cabos, including youth hostels. You can even pitch your tent near the beach!3. To start your fall season, I recommend a trip to Switzerland for the WTO public forum meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, September 24 – 26. A good central location for fine nearby skiing, autumn color hiking, and a piping hot cappuccino next to a roaring fireplace as you listen in to some powerful banker’s insidious plan.4. Continuing your fall season travels, I recommend visiting Tokyo, Japan for the IMF / World Bank meeting, Oct. 12-14. Enjoy social activism by day and exotic bustling Tokyo nightlife by night.For budget accommodations, Los Cabos, Geneva, and Tokyo, all have several hostels in the city and nearby vicinities.Last, for those planning on traveling through California, I recommend an outdoor excursion north of San Francisco. Besides marvelous vineyards, inspiring redwoods and dramatic coastline, there’s also an elite power broker retreat called Bohemian Grove nestled in the redwoods near the town of Guerneville and the Russian River.
The retreat of course has security ( as I discovered many years ago) so an undercover role as a naive hiker is a good start. While peering through the redwoods, you may find an influential politician or CEO performing some decadent, hedonistic ritual in a yellow chiffon dress! Don’t forget to bring your camera!I hope you find these travel tips useful for your future 2012 travel plans. You may even come across yours truly, the author. Happy travels!

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