Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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As is often the case, after graduating, I moved to a part of the country that I didn't really grow up in or know, and as such I don't really know all the great picturesque scenes, other than those I've stumbled across.

What tips do you have for identifying those awesome locations? Is it just a case of trial and error, or being an expert geographer? What about those awesome sunsets? Are they just down to time of the year, or would I get better results by learning more how to read the landscape?

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Go to Yosimite, it worked for Ansel! ;) I didn't answer because I don't think there is a single answer. Lots of places have incredible opportunities for landscape wonder, even close to cities. I think you'll know when you see it, just keep your camera handy. –  John Cavan Oct 31 '10 at 1:52
    
The problem, IMO, is not the location itself, it is the right timing. It is the light which usually makes the landscape awesome. I know people who take much better photos in the same locations as I do: either they know when the light is better or visit them more often not to miss the light opportunities. –  sastanin Nov 16 '10 at 9:01
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10 Answers 10

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Online mapping services are great for this, especially if you're just passing through an area on business, have maybe an hour to grab some photos, and don't want to waste your time.

I usually use Google Maps, with "Photos" and "Terrain" both enabled. That gives you a good sense of the lie of the land, and shows what other people found worth photographing.

If you're in the UK, then Ordnance Survey maps are great, and much more detailed than Google -- and they're now visible in Bing Maps (under "Roads") if you zoom in far enough. They give you an even better idea of the likely views, because they show clumps of trees, church spires and so on.

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Do not forget about TPE! photoephemeris.com great tool! –  Rafal Ziolkowski Nov 24 '10 at 10:03
    
I didn't know about TPE until just now; thanks for pointing it out! The portable TPE looks even more useful, so I hope the Android version comes out soon... –  Matt Bishop Nov 24 '10 at 17:00
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I know that this is not the standard answer one would expect but get into Geocaching or waypointing. The wife and I do this when travelling and it has led us to some of the most awesome hidden parks, trails, and local venues that you will never find on a tourist map. Imagine finding old mills, hidden wildlife preserves, etc. We don't do it so much for the Geocache itself anymore. But we do love the hunt. Once there, I take photos :-)

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I am not sure if you are a member on Flikr, but if you are, I would recommend joining a local Flikr group. I had a similar issue, but after joining the Flikr group dedicated to my area, I could look at what others were shooting(often geotagged), and sometimes directly ask, where they were shooting.

I don't know how useful this is, but it helped me out. :)

Also, would you mind saying where you are? Maybe some users already know some spots in your area!

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Most of the time, I'm around East Anglia in the UK - However, it would be useful to identify the techniques for identifying good locations for when I'm travelling... –  Rowland Shaw Oct 30 '10 at 20:30
    
@Rowland Oh I am sorry, I misunderstood your question. Now that I reread it, it is clear. Sorry about that. –  BBischof Oct 30 '10 at 20:31
    
Not at all, In reality, I'm interested in what's near me; but I doubt many others would be; I wanted to keep it general to keep it on topic -- kinda like your answer :) –  Rowland Shaw Oct 30 '10 at 20:32
    
Well, you could look at the local Flickr groups for wherever you happened to be traveling as well, no? –  Reid Oct 30 '10 at 21:01
    
@Reid hehe! I guess that works! –  BBischof Oct 30 '10 at 21:10
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Awesome locations are rarely a secret... You can often find them on postcards and picture books from the area. That's advice I've been given time after time.

...although I don't always do it. When leaving a place I sometimes see awesome photos on postcards that I wished I knew about earlier.

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When I was in Sicily last, I noticed that the postcards were photoshoped in a manner that loosely resembled the scene, but wasn't possible to be shot as presented; a bit naughty, but I still bought them... –  Rowland Shaw Oct 30 '10 at 20:57
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One great way to find good photo locations (landscape or otherwise) is to browse the Maps feature of Flickr. Start on the Flickr World Map and then enter your location to narrow things down. You'll be able to scroll around and find photos that have been uploaded and geotagged.

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Thanks for asking a question that I can help on. I'm a photography beginner so I rarely get to contribute.

But to me, the answer seems obvious: ask the locals :)

Get to know your neighbors, and ask them where the best views are. Some local interest groups could help - hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, boating, bird-watching, botany?

Perhaps your local scout troop would also have some ideas.

Anyway, good luck in your search. :)

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I would go out very often on different times in different directions and LOOK AROUND and think... You'll always find something interesting, maybe not at this time of day but then You can bear in mind to come back f.ex. at night or on sunset... etc.

This was shoot when I go for a walk with dog to nearby huge field of grass: http://goo.gl/G1rn

And this in nearby park, also while walking with dog: http://goo.gl/oo4h

If you are looking for outstanding views, try to find some trip guides and tips on web in books. Often You can find some outstanding places.

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Both your links seem to have some issues. –  BBischof Oct 30 '10 at 21:18
    
What do You mean by issues? What browser do You use? –  Rafal Ziolkowski Oct 31 '10 at 22:39
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You are never going to know for sure how a place will work until you're actually there, so of course the best way to know is through experience :)

Now, for the rest of us who aren't old and gray, retired with plenty of time on our hands, or a professional who gets paid to sit and wait on a hill for the perfect shot... There are some good resources online to give you a decent idea what a location will be like.

  • The Photographer's Ephemeris is one of the best tools I've seen, combining Google maps with the sunrise/sunset information, which can help not only with location, but also the lighting at that location.
  • Like others have mentioned Google maps, esp. with the terrain and satellite views.
  • Bing Maps, which has different sources, which may or may not be better than Google's for any given location.
  • Flickr maps, which has image overlays on the map, so you can see the real views for a location.
  • Panoramio, which is very similar to Flickr maps, but is focused solely on geotagged photos.
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I came across a website called Pashadelic. From what I can tell, they are trying to aid photographers find and discover great location for landscape photography. Their map is quite advance allowing you to load information such as panoramio photos and allowing you to see the sun/moon position. It's still in beta but I see a potential.

http://pashadelic.com/maps

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Nice, I like the density overlay function. @Passionate photographer, if you are connected to the site/product in anyway you should declare so in your answer. This is not a problem, just say so. –  Unapiedra Aug 30 '13 at 21:03
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I was in the very same situation as you and I used to search between Google Maps, Wikipedia and Flickr but that wasn't very effective.

I decided to try and set up a website for such a need, the goal is to show travel places on a map with photos (some from Flickr, some from members). Give it a try and see if that's helping: Awespot.

You can't (for now at least) filter for "landscape" places, but they all are travel places so that's a start.

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