Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Year 5 Day 8 - Research and Planning

In the past I haven't done a lot of research or planning, but I've begun to do it more and I am hoping that this will aid in my advancing as a photographer.

Growing as a photographer has opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't see or pay attention to in the past. When I started a few years ago I was going to the zoo, or shooting something that just caught my eye at the time. Now that I have a few years of experience I have those to use to anticipate what is upcoming. Probably the two easiest example are fall foliage and fall bird migrations.

Read on for more.

And with fall just around the corner I have started to research and plan a little more than in years past.

I signed up for Joseph Rossbach's news letter. He does paid trips, and is roughly in my area, so he has done lots of research himself, and sends out invites to workshops months in advance. He's got some stuff coming up in PA, WV this fall.

Another useful tool is the Hawk Count web site. They've got years and years of data from a lot of locations. I found it when I was researching Hawk Mountain numbers. A few years ago Hawk Mountain counted THOUSANDS of Broad-Winged hawks in a single day! That was a pretty huge day, and it was in September. I've gone a couple times and was disappointed bird count-wise, but it was worth it anyway.

Looking for the birds @ Hawk Mountain, Pa

The other day I was looking for data related to foliage in Vermont and found this site -

Cape May in New Jersey also keeps a daily log of sightings and posts them here - www.birdcapemay.org/sightings/. I haven't been there yet, but plan to go this year.

Last year was my first trip to Assateague and Chincoteague - I spent 5 days out there and did ok I guess, but for the distance I traveled and time I spent shooting I wish I got more.

Chincoteague Sunrise
Sunrise @ Assateague Island Beach

Assateague Heron

Assateague Pony
She Was My Favorite Pony

One thing I started to do, and made it part way through was to tag my images with the month, actually an abbreviation of the month so I can search easier, and sort my interestingness to aid in researching from my past trips, and what produced images that I posted. Here's a link for April or "Apr" I kept up with it for a few months, but need to get back at it. The tag represents the date the images were taken not posted. The flickr archives can be used for this, but it won't combine multiple years in to a single view for a specific month.

Eventually I want to create little flickr badges that are a tag search for each month, and then make a blog post with the badges. It will dynamically show the most interesting shots for each month/tag.

But it doesn't allow sorting by Interesting as far as I can tell, here's a bad sorted by recent...


Nikographer [Jon]'s items tagged with febMore of Nikographer [Jon]'s stuff tagged with feb

Flickr itself is also a great research tool, searching by location (geo) or tags can yield some interesting images, and ideas for places to visit.