Golden hour and blue hour are the best times of day for landscape photography. However, depending on where one lives, it might not be practical to be out shooting at those times during the summer.
In his latest video — shot in the beautifully rugged north-west highlands of Scotland — Thomas Heaton takes us through his process of location scouting. "But why bother to scout when you tell us about all these wonderful planning apps?" I hear people type. Well, as Heaton mentions, no matter how good as all these apps are for helping one to envision a scene, nothing beats going to a prospective location to really get a feel for it. Don't get me wrong. All those weather and planning apps are extremely important, and so, should be used in conjunction with scouting. But, it's this extra step of pre-planning which goes a long way towards taking ones imagery to the next level.
I myself had the opportunity to do a bit of location scouting in Ireland's Connemara National Park a few weeks ago and I can also say from first-hand experience that just because an area might seem perfect on a topographical map, it might not be the most ideal location for photography. In Heaton's video, the weather for day-time photography, with its mid-level layer of cloud cover and dappled light, is quite satisfactory, especially for black and white.
However, during my visit to Connemara there was this strange orange ball in the sky. Yes, Ireland was getting some decent sunshine. And, while everybody was out sporting their brightest smiles and shortest shorts, I was the picture of misery. Clear blue skies are the landscape photographer's worst enemy.
I didn't let the glorious weather get me down, though. I soldiered on, taking the opportunity to explore the area which is coincidentally quite similar to the landscape in the video. It's a place I plan on shooting this coming fall, and now I feel that I'm much more prepared for it. I managed to rule out a few places which initially piqued my interest, while simultaneously added some sweet little spots to my list.
What about our readers? Anyone have any location scouting stories?