Virtual Value


Searching for the perfect location is not easy for me because I don't drive or own a vehicle. I rely on the kindness of friends/family or am at the mercy of a slow-moving bus. Either way, it's challenging. In addition, I'm not one of those photographers who likes to return to the same location twice. Locations play such a key role in my photos that you'd definitely recognize it if used a 2nd time. I like wearing the same shirt twice, I don't like capturing the same background twice.
So how do I find fresh locations on such a small island?
One method I do often is virtual scouting. Flickr and Google Image Search are indispensable for virtual location scouting. I search via tags such as "Hawaii old factory" or "Honolulu graffiti" and explore the search results. Oddly enough, I sometimes come across my own photos. I'll also stumble upon locations I could use for future use, not my current project. I store those away in a little notebook so I can go back to it when the time is right.
After I find the location that meets my search criteria, I go for a physical inspection. In addition to practical notations (parking,
plumbing, etc.) I also try to find the closest bus stop (for obvious reasons) and convenience store or restaurant. I like to note this not only for energy-reasons, but more importantly as a pre-shoot meet location. You see, if a location has a complex set of directions to get to, I prefer to travel in the same car so we don't get lost or miss each other. So, I'll meet my models at a restaurant or convenience store and we travel to the spot together. It's weird, but it works. Hopefully one day when I get a big, easy-to-find studio of my own, I won't have to rely on such unconventional methods.
Until then, I scout virtually and hope that more people uploading photos onto Flickr and the web in general label their photos properly. It helps chaps like me to experience the same cool location and preserve it in a new artistic way.
My thanks in advance!