The Trip: Defining Your Goals

One of my goals is to spend some time in the backcountry of the Big Cypress Swamp.

After choosing your location, the fun really begins.  Diving into the details can be exciting and produce a fantastic trip, but first we need to look at the big picture.  What does your location or theme offer?  What is it that you will be photographing?  What do you need to know before you get there?  Answer these questions and explicitly lay out a series of goals.  Trust me, it will simplify your planning and make your time in the field much more productive.

If you have chosen a specific location as your theme then you likely have a huge variety of options.  You can photograph the landscape, the plants and animals that call it home, the impact and interaction of humans in the landscape, or even one small aspect of any of that.  It’s a lot to process and even more to photograph.

If you’ve chosen a specific species as your theme, you also have your work cut out.  For example, if you pick a rare or elusive species, you have to answer several basic questions.  How are you going to find it and how are you going to get close enough to create photographs?  If it’s a common species, then how are you going to capture new and different images?  Are you after specific behaviors, interactions, breeding, hunting, or a specific individual?

For me, this trip offers a wide variety of options.  Knowing I was going to be in South Florida, I started with my focus on the Everglades with the goal of expanding on my earlier work.  Now, I have the previous experience of living within the park boundaries for 5 months in 2005 so I have previously photographed many of the major attractions.  I knew I wanted to focus on the more remote and less visited areas and have defined my own goals as follows:

  • Revisit popular destinations to document change in the last 5 years
  • Explore the 10,000 Islands and the Southwest Everglades by canoe
  • Explore the backcountry of the Big Cypress Swamp
  • Capture the Everglades by night

In order to properly address and complete these goals, I have spent a lot of time researching both logistics and natural history which we will look at tomorrow.

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