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Dispersed Camping and Photgraphy

Who else loves camping for free on public lands, and chooses their spots with grewat photo locations in mind?

I always look for campspots that are close to great photography subjects, and hang around camp from mid-morning to late afternoon, relaxing, cooking over the fire, etc. The price I’m paying for that ‘luxury’ is getting up typically before astronomical twilight.


One of the biggest mistakes I see photographers do all the time is not being patient, and waiting… – waiting even after the sun has set (or come up,) and look at the sky for the fantastic light displays often found after the sun has set; colors going from yellow, to orange, to pink, to red, to magenta, etc., before finally disappearing into various different shades of blue (cyan, azure, dark blue, violet…)

Leaving right after the sun has set leads to photographers missing out on that colorful display in the sky – a shame! With experience, one can even estimate whether or not that colorful display will or will not happen, helping make those “stay or leave” decisions – as a crude general rule, if there are clouds, there will be colors, if not probably no colorful sky (but I have had evening where that rule of thumb was broken by nature!)

So, if you take away anything from this post – make it a practice to get to your chosen photography location (and set up) before Golden Hour, and stay at least until the beginning of astronomical twilight (‘reverse’ for a sunrise shoot…) Apps like TPE (‘The Photographer’s Ephemeris’) or Photopills can be a tremendous help figuring out the exact times for those events, based upon location; both can even be used in the comfort of your home to plan for the shoot – when, where, etc.

In the end, whatever you do – just get out there and enjoy the outdoors!

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