Planning a Photography Excursion to the tulip festival.


Now that the February blahs are over, and March has come and gone bringing warmer days (regular readers know how I feel about March, “Ides of March. 15 March 2012”), I am thinking about planning a spring photography excursion.  I am hoping the weather will be cooperative as I don’t enjoy photography in the rain, and don’t want to get my camera equipment wet.  I think I should include some protective rain gear in the event of bad weather.

I would like to go on spring excursion heading west and south and that should give me the best opportunity for photography that will not include snow or cold temperatures.  I want to go somewhere along the coast I think, as spring comes earlier along the west coast and I should have my choice of flowers, landscapes, or any possible wildlife.  A friend phoned last night from Vancouver saying there was green grass, and flowers, and the temperature was 12 degrees, and expected to get warmer.

I just received an email reminding me of the spectacular blooming events along Washington State’s northern coast.  I could attend the 29th Annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival from the 1st to 30th of April.  I know I could link up with other photographers going there from BC, or I could just head to LaConner or some other town on the coast of Washington, find a place to sleep, and join the festivities.  I am not so much a flower person, but like so many other subjects I photograph, I think multicolored fields of tulips would be an interesting photographic challenge. Choices ranging from extreme close-ups to landscapes would be just plain fun.

I don’t tent or RV so I will start browsing the internet for reasonable lodging. I have found fun places to stay in the past by checking out lodging websites, however, I have also ended up by chance in neat places just by going where I want to be and looking around.

If this brings up the question, “Have you ever had bad luck finding a place without advance reservations?”  Oh, yes!  I remember pulling our tiny Suzuki Sidekick off the highway at a roadside rest stop late at night because every hotel and motel was full.  My wife, Linda, and I tried unsuccessfully to spend the night sleeping in that cramped car. Morning came early (4am) and because nothing in the nearby small town was open we drove off tired and hungry. We finally ended up gobbling donuts and coffee hours later at a Tim Horton’s, then later collapsed on a sandy beach beside a lake and slept much of the day away.  Oh well, we will never forget that excursion!

I like to plan and organize such events to include preparing the vehicle, so when the time comes I will ensure the car is tuned up, and the winter tires are changed.  I like lists because I always forget stuff, and so I’ll begin making several brightly colored checklists of the items I will bring, and then I will start looking forward to the photography excursion, and have fun just thinking about the pictures I want to take.

That brings up the best part of planning.  What camera equipment do I bring?  I could bring every lens and camera I have, but that’s just silly as I wouldn’t have any room for a change of clothes.  Too much of the time I over pack my camera gear and end up stashing equipment in the car because it isn’t being used, so I will make an effort to minimize this year.

I don’t like to venture very far with only one camera, so I always carry a backup camera.  Cameras can malfunction and I don’t want to take the chance of reaching my distant destination and not being able to do the photography I went there to do.

Next on the list are the lenses I think I’ll need.  If I attend the tulip festival I’ll need a macro lens for close-up photography and a wide-angle lens for those colourful, flowered landscapes. There will be other opportunities and I’ll bring my 70-200mm and for wide low light opportunities will include a 24-70mm f2.8.  And very important, I will pack lots of memory cards.  By now the camera pack is getting full. That’s three lenses, two camera bodies, and I haven’t yet included my infrared camera that I think I’ll also bring. Oops, there is also my wife’s camera gear. Add her camera, macro lens, and favorite zoom lens, a 70-300mm.

Of course we will take our tripods, that’s a given.  Ahh, the decisions we must make. I just think it is so much fun.  The planning and anticipation of any photographic excursion is as much fun as the actual trip.  Whether I make it to the Washington coast or have to pull back my plans and stay closer to home, I will soon be venturing out camera in hand.


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