Hey Everyone! I hope today finds you healthy and safe. Today's topic is "Trip Planning." I love to take trips to photograph, camp, hike, or whatever. But I'm not one of those people that can just get up one morning and go. I need to have a plan, know where I'm going, and how I'm going to get there. What will I do when I get there? What will I see? I like to research all of this before I go and try to answer all of the questions I may have.
This year my photo project is to explore all of the National Forests in North Carolina. I plan on doing them one by one, starting with Croatan
National Forest first because it's the most buggy. I plan on doing most of my exploring in cooler weather to keep the bugs and snake activity to a minimum. So that is the first decision I made. When. My next decision to make is where in Croatan will I go? To figure this one out, I will use many resources. The first one I will use is maps. I use digital and actual maps to find out where things are. Things like trails, creeks, rivers, lakes, and campsites. Using maps lets me figure out how far things are. As I'm doing this, I'm making out lists, writing down the specific places
that I find on the maps. Then I start the research.
Using my computer, I start to research the places that I have identified on the maps by using just a simple search on Google. It may or may not
bring up stuff, and I can drill down further on stuff that it brings up. If it's a photo trip (and most are), I'll go to one of my photo sharing sites like Instagram, Flickr, or 500PX and see what other people have seen at the places I've found. Maybe I'll try to take the same kinds of photos, or maybe I'll look just to see what others have taken so I don't do the same. Either way, I check. If it's going to be an overnight trip, I look for a place to camp. I try to look at places that I have not been to before. The type of camping accommodation is how I decide on what type of camping I do. If it's a really good campground, I might bring my teardrop camper. But then that opens up a whole other can of worms because I have to get reservations to these campgrounds, many times months in advance because they are so popular. Will I be backpacking into the woods? What are the trails like? What is the mileage that I will be expected to hike? Where is the parking area for my truck? Do I need to get permission to park? These are
all questions that I have to answer using my computer while planning my trip.
Just before I leave, after I have come up with a game plan, I need to check a few more things. First, a week or so out I start looking at the weather. Using weather apps on my phone, I look in advance to see what the weather is going to be like. I don't want to be out backpacking and a hurricane comes that I didn't expect. But I also want to look at how hot or cold it will be. This will help me figure out what kind of clothes to bring with me. I don't want to be overdressed or underdressed for the weather.
Planning on what to bring with me is one of the last things I do. I make a packing list based on what I found out with all of the research. Will I be backpacking, camping out of my truck, taking my teardrop, or staying in a hotel? This and the weather will determine what I bring. If I'm backpacking, minimal is the word of the day. This is for cameras as well. When you're backpacking, ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain when you have it on your back. You have to pack accordingly. If I'm going to be camping in my truck or camper, I can bring almost anything. But I'm a list guy and have a list of all the things that I will take with me, from raincoat to camera kit and everything in between.
As you can see, this can be a very involved process, and my process might not be right for you. But if you're like me, you will need a process. So come up with your own. Start planning a trip today! So until next week, stay safe and healthy, and get outside and shoot!