Using Geocaching as your Photography Guide

Using Geocaching as your Photography Guide is an alternative to hiring a professional photography guide.  All to often photographers find themselves in a new area, city, or town looking for the best place to make some beautiful images.  Many photographers just don't know where to go, or are unable to find a guide for the area.  This is where Geocaching comes in handy. The first question that some of you may have is, what the heck is geocaching? Geocaching is an outdoor real life treasure hunt. Participants use GPS enabled devices to guide them to a container hidden at the coordinates that are listed on Geocaching.com.  All you need to get started is a free Geocaching.com account.  If you would like to start finding geocaches while out making pictures, you will need a GPS enabled device, such as a smart phone with the geocaching app, or handheld GPS unit.  As an added bonus if you choose to use a handheld GPS you can geotag all your photos when you get home.  Having a GPS with you also makes it much easier to find those special spots later on, or even years later.  Lastly, getting lost is near impossible.

Geocaching is an outdoor real life treasure hunt. Participants use GPS enabled devices to guide them to a container hidden at the coordinates that are listed on Geocaching.com

My family and I have visited many geocaches that have brought us to popular spots that many people see as the final destination, and then the geocache took us a little bit further down the trail to reveal a hidden gem that absolutely takes your breath away.  For example I live in central Ontario, about 20 mintues from where I live is a hydro dam waterfall known as "High Falls".  The waterfall is a very popular rest area for cottagers.  The area immediately around the falls is beautiful, however it's not a very photographic.  The hydro dam and the bridge over the falls seem to creep into any angle you might think would work.

High Falls-Geocaching as your Photography Guide-Trent Woods

A geocache took me down a  path maybe 200m (~600ft for my American friends) away from High Falls, to a tranquil, and magical set of waterfalls.  I have lived in the area for my entire life and I never knew that this waterfall was there, until geocaching took me there.

Potts Falls - Fall-Geocaching as your Photography Guide-Trent Woods

I can hear the keyboard starting to click now...  "if you are a good photographer you can make good pictures anywhere".  I agree but after seeing the two above photos which set of falls would you prefer to photograph?

Before I go on any working photography trip I always use geocaching as my photography guide, if only to give me an idea of where I want to go.  When I start to research the area I am going, I head over to geocaching.com and search for geocaches near the area I will be staying.  This will provide me with a list of caches in the area.  At this point I start browsing the geocache listing, and take a look at the image gallery.  By viewing the images in the photo gallery and reading the cache description I have a good idea if I want to visit the area.  This is a time consuming process and manual process.  I have been able to find many locations that I may have over looked or never discovered without geocaching, especially in areas that I was not able to find a professional photography guide.

Please keep in mind that using geocaching is only an option.  It will not replace the experience , or the access to sites that a good photography guide can provide.  I highly recommend hiring an experienced local photography guide when ever you can.  Good guides are worth their weight in gold.  In the cases when you are unable find a guide, Geocaching will help you find the places you want to make great pictures.

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