EPS Education Night 1/9/20 Presented by Mark Gotchall

Photo trip planning with links and other information. The following is what I use, for landscape photography, your mileage may vary. Search for reviews on apps before you buy, I have found paying for an app that works is lot better than putting up with a poor performing free app.

Books; Photo trip USA– Photographing Oregon, Washington, Northern California, The Southwest etc.

Google; use the search function to research places. You will find a lot of info on the popular sites, but I try to look for something different, go several pages deep. Vary your search words, “Photography New Mexico” will give you some different results from “Photo opportunities New Mexico”.

Google Maps; have good satellite views and street views, but a very poor GPS mapping system. In satellite view drag the person over the map area looking for blue lines or dots. The blue lines are where the Google Maps car has driven or a person with the Google camera has walked. The blue dots are where a photo was taken and loaded to Google. Blue lines or blue dots will give you a street view if you drag and drop the person onto a blue line or spot. I use Google Maps, in satellite mode to get a good idea of what an area looks like, then I mark the locations in Google Earth.

Google Earth Pro; has good satellite views and for places that don’t have the “blue lines” it will give a satellite generated “street view”. It is easy to create .KMZ files, which is a GPS location file for GPS mapping programs. Street views leave something to be desired, which is why I pair it with Google Maps.

Click on the placemark (pin icon) and it will create a location placemark on your map. Drag the placemark to the location you want to mark, such as a road turnoff or hiking trail, then name it and save. Create a file folder (my places) to save your locations into. Before you exit Google Earth be sure to save “My Places” to a file folder on your computer.

Use the search box to quickly find locations. Open areas, such as the coastline are easier to see items of interest than streams, which you can’t see due to the forest or the trees.

GPS Mapping Programs; Once I have the .KMZ file built I can email to myself, or save it to the cloud, then open it on my phone with a GPS program. Or you could download it directly into a GPS You will want to download maps for your GPS mapping programs, because spotty cell service, if your phone signal goes away, so does your map. The GPS location on your phone works via satellite so it will map even without cell service, with the location turned on.

  • I use GPS Waypoints Navigator for Android, which allows offline mapping, if you have downloaded the state vector maps. You also have access to topographical maps. Pay for the app and the maps are free.
  • MotionX-GPS works well for iPhone, from what I have read.
  • I also use a Garmin handheld GPS. The batteries in a handheld GPS will last for 2 or 3 days, versus a phone battery that may only last 5 hours.
  • Avenza Maps plots your position on PDF maps. Some are free and some are paid. Redwoods Map Hiking Trails through Avenza paid maps here http://www.redwoodhikes.com/Store/Home.html

Ephemeris Programs; From Wikipedia “In astronomy and celestial navigation, an ephemeris (plural: ephemerides) gives the trajectory of naturally occurring astronomical objects as well as artificial satellites in the sky, i.e., the position (and possibly velocity) over time.”

  • I use Sun Surveyor for Android to map sunrise, sunset, moon rise, and Milky Way positions. It also has street views that it gets from Google Maps. Any position you have a street view from, you can see the ephemeris across the landscape.
  • Photo Pills works well for iPhone, and per Hernando it also works for Android. The programs do similar functions.
  • The Photographer’s Ephemeris is good for desktop/laptop research, but I like Sun Surveyor in the field.

Website links and other Apps

Use Google to search, there are a lot of tools available free of charge.

Prior planning will give you a list of places to scout when the light is not the best, if you don’t need a nap. It won’t clean your lens, set up your tripod, or frame a good composition, but it will allow you more time to make good images. You will be able to plan sunrise, sunset and Milky Way angles across the landscape. It will allow you to see the places you will be, before you are there, and pre-visualize the opportunities. Planning locations for a sunrise, mid-morning, evening and night shoot, will give you more shooting time.

One item I forgot to show was planning the Milky Way. The following is a screen shot from the Southern Oregon Coast, the gray dots are the Milky Way position. I planned the Milky Way image several weeks ahead of time, the weather cooperated and I captured it.

Mark Gotchall Milky Way Sea Stacks

Last Updated on December 13, 2021