Planning is key to getting the results you desire. You use recipes to make certain dishes, use a map to get to places you've never been, book tickets if you're going to fly etc. The point is, without some sort of direction or planning, you're not going to get exactly what it is you want.
Lesson learned as I have been wanting to get a silhouette view of Minneapolis at sundown. I can see from my patio that the sun goes down and where the shadows are and in my head, I think I have a great idea of where I can go to capture this amazing image I have plastered in my brain. I do a search of where I think it would be and head out.
I know of a park that is East of Minneapolis and it makes sense that if the park is East and the sun sets in the West then all the planets will align, the city will appear in between that, my camera will jump out of the bag with sheer excitement and snap off one insanely great image without any worries...ya, not so much. Turns out that the sun does, in fact, set in the West but the straight line that is supposed to be from park to city to sun is a bit more like a Michigan left turn.
Snap a few images and this is what you get. Rather boring and lacking anything of value for my tastes. The result of poor planning and definitely NOT what I had in my head because I don't have sun behind the city, it's WAY off to the right!
The drive back home in the dark gives me time to think. I totally though I would nail that shot...time for more research. Enter LightTrac.
|Screen Shot LightTrac|
I don't want to get burned again on my next trip so a little more research is in order. This time from Google Earth. If you've never used Google Earth, you will probably do as I did and play with it for a few hours without getting any work done at all...its just that amazing! The first step on my "virtual scouting" trip is to retrace where the sun will line up. Then adjust the map to that line using Google Earth. Now to zoom in and at an angle. You can now see different vantage points of where it is you'd be able to shoot from. I found a few parking ramps that I can use to get on the top level and try a few shots before committing to one location. This will be a huge help in scouting locations around the area and for future trips to surrounding cities.
|Default Satellite View (Sunset Blue Line)|
|Default Google Earth View|
|Virtual Scouting Parking Ramp 1 (bottom of image)|
|Virtual Scouting Parking Ramp 2 (bottom of image)|
Now THAT is planning! The skyline looked more pleasing on the virtual map from the Parking Ramp 1 view, so that's where I found myself a few days later. Final result pictured below.
|Minneapolis Skyline (sunset)|