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Photography 101: Need a photo location? Take a drive


A dilapidated barn off a country road.
Photo by Ben Yoder

We've all been there: stuck with a great idea, but lacking a place to take that great picture. You think and think, but there seems to be no place that you haven't already exhausted. What to do? Go out for a drive.

I was reminded of this simple advice today while out on the back roads. I have been searching for a location for an automotive photo shoot, and am running out of time. As I turned down a random road, I found the jackpot: a dilapidated barn in the middle of an unkempt field. All it is going to take is the car, the proper lighting equipment, and the proper fall evening.

Some ideas are just going out to drive down roads you normally do, just staying more aware of your surroundings. That is how I found the barn in the picture above - and this is the most in-tact side! Have you exhausted your normal route's potential? Then find a road and start driving. At one point, just take a turn, and see where that road goes. If you are someone that can't remember directions well, or just have a poor sense of direction, or aren't adventurous enough, be sure to pack along a GPS unit to both get you home and to mark your new found location.

There are some things to remember, however. You can't just go out and use any barn, house, or structure that is on the road. Chances are, someone owns the thing. Do a little research, and find an owner; the last thing you want is a ticket for trespassing. Many times, all it takes is to ask the question, and maybe offering the property owner a print or two.

One last thing to remember: take your camera! That way, you are ready for something unexpected to show up, and can be sure to take a picture of it. This serves two main points, (1) to remind you what the scene looks like for future use, and (2) to be sure to get a picture before the scene in front of you goes away for ever.

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