Posted on June 18, 2009 by LightCentric
Different things motivate and excite me when it comes to things photographic. Nothing gets my blood running more than the planning and anticipation of a major photo trip to an exciting photo destination. In 2005, I planned such a trip with my good friend, to Vermont during Fall Foliage. I lived in Vermont for a number of years as a younger person, often taking for granted that magically photogenic state, and its pervasive fall splendor. But I often found myself bragging to him that no place on earth was equal to the brilliant fall color show that the hardwood forests of New England puts on. So, we decided to put it to the test.
Suddenly, I had to find us some “sure win” photo locations. Now, I just may enjoy the research as much as the actual trip, as I “Google”™ my topic and comb Amazon.com™ for books mapping, illustrating and narrating the subject matter. I found the usual Travel Books and Explorer Guides, and a great book by Professional Photographer and Vermont resident, David Middleton (The Photographer’s Guide To Vermont).
Photo “guide” books so often give general information, illustrated by the author’s own photos (and who can blame them?), but seldom give the detailed, intimate information on how to actually find the photo. Indeed, this is a matter that can, in some views, be controversial.
One rationale for this is to protect the scene from overuse and abuse by insensitive visitors who do not give it its proper respect. I appreciate that view. However, I do not subscribe to the school that wants to keep a good photo opportunity or location to myself. I favor sharing the location with other photographers. I do make exceptions to my own “rule.” If I have been entrusted by someone else with a location they ask me not to disclose, I will most certainly keep that confidence!
There has always been a school of thought that these great photo locations should be kept secret to all but a few persons.
Researching the Vermont Trip, my “googling” eventually turned up a “book” by a Massachusetts Photographer and workshop presenter named Arnold John Kaplan, called “How To Find (and photograph) The Photo-Scenics In Vermont.” I was directed to a rather unassuming website which illustrated the Yellow-covered Paperback Pamphlet. At a cost of $16.95, this one is a best buy. Ironically, it is not illustrated with the author’s prize photographs. Instead, it contains detailed information, including driving directions, best times of day to be at each location, where to park, and technical information about photographing the scene. Know as the “Yellow Book,” this guide became invaluable to both of my trips to photograph Vermont Fall color in 2005 and again in 2006. Another “guide” series that deserved mention is the Photo Traveler Pamphlets, which were discontinued in 2008. Another excellent reference guide is Robert Hitchman’s Photograph America Newsletter, which can be purchased at his site.
To my disappointment, some of the scenes had changed over the nearly 30 years since Arnold first published the guide. I was so impressed with the format and information, that I began to keep detailed notes on my own travels and produced what I felt was an up to date PDF guide, illustrated by thumbnail photos, containing information on Kaplan’s and other locations. I owe a debt of gratitude to Arnold and give him full credit in my own PDF guide, which can be downloaded from my LightCentric Photography Website at no charge. I have spent enough time in another wonderful photo location to warrant a second Guide to photographing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Over time, who knows what other guides I may author.
While I strongly believe in sharing with other photographers, I feel just as strongly, that
to maintain the pristine beauty nature brings them and not to abuse the trust we have been given.
we as photographers have a duty
In the meantime, I recently got in touch with Arnold John Kaplan. To my delight, he is not only alive and vital, but is still traveling to Vermont and still photographing. I write as a co-blogger on a Site hosted by Foliage Vermont, called Scenes of Vermont Blog. My June blog was a tribute to Arnold John Kaplan. He has since joined the forums and will be posting one of his “iconic” Vermont images, monthly. Arnold tells me he still works out every day at the gym. He is active in a camera club and presents slide show seminars on his work, including the Vermont “how to” subject. He still travels to Vermont and other destinations to photograph. Arnold is 93 years old! And he is still sharing with us. Now there is something that ought to motivate anyone!
How about you? Do you share location information or keep it a secret? I would be interested in your views.
Filed under: MUSINGS, PHOTOGRAPHY | Tagged: Musings; Nature; Photography; Travel |