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Adventure Photography

Lesson 16 of 32

Location Scouting

Lucas Gilman

Adventure Photography

Lucas Gilman

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Lesson Info

16. Location Scouting

Lesson Info

Location Scouting

So location scouting this is something we've we've sort of glossed over and I think the best way to illustrate it is to give you a couple of scenarios so ah initially this image here which has pretty much nothing to do with anything we've seen so far this doesn't have anything to do with outdoor sports or photography ah, this is the city of arts and sciences in valencia, spain I was in spain shooting a job for a cycling company and went on to panorama eoe and saw that just a mere fifty kilometers down the road one of the coolest architectural installations I've ever seen was there. So uh when I'm scouting, I'm not necessary to scouting for, uh, my job I'm always looking for interesting things to just take pictures because you know, we're we're photographers first, so I find going out and just doing a little work and seeing what is around you I'm sure that if you were to go on on panorama right now in your hometown, you would find some really cool pictures of things that you never thoug...

ht we're just down the street uh but originally this segment I thought, would be mohr interesting if we went and we talked about something that's very near and dear to my heart and that's iceland I've been nice on seven times now one of my favorite places on the planet uh if you if you google iceland images you will see like seventeen million pictures but yeah, I went there and we launched the nikon d a ten last spring and I did a lot of research I did a lot of scouting because I was looking to make not the standard pictures everybody's gone they photographed the waterfalls and they've done you know, all these things that are very you know, the reason people go to iceland but I was looking for backgrounds and that's you know, to bring it back to where we were before you know, this this whole workshop we're starting background first so I was basically looking for not necessarily the best pictures but I'm looking for pictures on the internet that show interesting places that may just be backgrounds blank canvases that I could then this is eric again you see eric tomorrow uh you know, insert eric and make interesting shots um funny side note on this image people go wow, did you hike? You know, hundreds of miles to get to this was it over a mountain pass? Did you go through snow storm that I'm like, no, this is actually I'm standing on the shoulder of the highway, but by doing my research by doing my scouting I found something pretty cool ah and I was able teo on ly incorporate what I wanted in this image um and through the research we found glacial lagoon which is pretty popular but I didn't want the standard tourist picture with the with the glacier in the background I wanted to find a spot where we could put a human element into this so when I'm scouting I'm looking for these things that where I can incorporate a human element and for yourself you may not you may just be looking for the next beautiful landscape, but the moral of the story is that through technology you're able to go on through panoramic eo or just googling specific locations were able to go out and do this uh occasionally you're just lucky you know this horse didn't mind that I had a pocket full of peppermints but I did get you know, some interesting shots of the icelandic pony um but again figuring out that the times of day the sun rises sunset the nuances thes air all things that are part of the scouting and or finding a location that's been photographed many, many times but making it a little different using a different shutter speed or something like that um these locations er that you see that they're sort of destination spots you know, the taj mahal, the pyramids um these I was I would say go out and try to find maybe the backside of the taj mahal or find something different find a new angle to that on the only way you can do that is by scouting with their whether whether with your own two feet or as well as just doing some research uh I sinned again you know, the things that I'm always looking for in these shots is, you know, finding location but then looking for the subtle nuances and having the bird fly across in the frame right at the end you know, goes makes a good, you know, good photo kind of great, but it doesn't come without ah lot of adversity uh the this shot you know, we went out at sunrise to shoot senators when I say at sunrise, I mean, three o'clock in the morning to get there for sunrise and I went out to the cliff and erik sound the beach and it's dark because we're there before sunrise and then it starts raining and then it starts snowing and then the snow starts blowing sideways and I'm like really, you know, and then for five minutes literally five minutes we had this beautiful light that, uh, you know, was there and we got all, you know, this one shot because I got one wave and then this is what it looked like walking back to the car, so by scouting a location we found our background, we put ourself in that good position to succeed and then by happenstance we were lucky enough to get that little bit of light were able to make that really cool shot and you know, this doesn't make a bad shot either, but it just he tells you that you know, nothing ventured nothing gained so little scouting goes a long way and you know, we just continued the journey this is in iceland southern iceland found a waterfall is actually very famous waterfall, but I want to do a little differently so we did a technique like call moody blue I didn't coin that term but it's one that's out there on the internet and basically we're shooting with a tungsten white balance on our camera, which is the little uh you know, little lightbulb looking thing and we're using one strobe off camera with an orange gel and so everything that warns gel lights is the proper color and that jealous just lighting up his face and everything it doesn't light is going that blue color so no again scouting finding, finding that location and making something a little bit different we brought our friend joel kowalski from canada found another waterfall thing was running off of a glacier it was like uh it was like thea thea ice bucket challenge basically he's like I can probably do it once, so I set up two cameras this is within eight hundred millimeter lens set up a second camera here and when I do these big waterfalls which you're one of things I'm known for I also always set up a least one two, three or more cameras for those sorts of things so I'm all the way across the canyon here and this is uh seventy two hundred probably about maybe a hundred millimeters and this is me saying right next to it with a eight hundred millimeter lens zoomed in on that one little spot that you'll see uh right here as he goes over so again just putting yourself in that location by scouting and being that good situation uh but if you if there is one place on the planet that I would go back definitely I soon would be there it's just absolutely amazing it has not a bad background it looks like it's just frozen in time looks like the law that was just you know, just stopped it was just no absolutely spectacular one of my favorite places ever. So um where do we go from here? Ah always be aware of your surroundings um and you know there's a little respite there little we did our little junket overto iceland gonna break in yeah, I wanted to talk a little bit about so so here's the thing I would love for you to talk about sort of the bigger picture of the reasons why you like how you approach the you know, the choosing of the location yeah, so uh what I'm looking for a location I'm really looking for something that's going to give me hopefully the most flexibility possible on when I mean by flexibility is um you know, first of all, I'm not going to paint myself into a corner by going somewhere where one day out of every nineteen is sonny, you know, unless you know, I'm really trying to get one magnificent image and it's it's never been done for I'm going to look for some place that has a lot of, uh, you know, diversity such such as iceland for this example, it has a lot of interesting backgrounds, it has a lot of backdrops, it has a lot of things that are easily accessible because I'm looking to maximize the opportunity in every sense because being a professional photographer, I'm always looking toa have the maximum return on my investment because a lot of these things I go out of my own pocket sometimes to these countries and I go out and photograph these things and hopefully they sell ah lot of times somebody will hire me to go on these projects, but you know, I'm always looking for some place is going to, you know, give me the most variety for instance going to iceland or going somewhere in the north during the late summer you have, like nineteen hours of sunlight so you have a lot of time to be able to go out and make pictures uh and the other thing is knowing that uh the aspect of the sun very, very far north in the summer the sun almost never sets it's always at a very, very low trajectory so you're getting that golden hour for like, you know, fifteen hours a day so which in the middle of the earth like the equator you're getting high noon like a lot of the day it's certain times of the year so knowing the location, knowing the weather patterns when when is a good time to go when it's not a good time to go on doing that research historically by there, you know, looking at the weather or and we're just finding out when the season is for a particular thing, you know, for instance, if you want to shoot the northern lights, you probably don't show up to iceland in august because there's a very, very small chance that you're going to see them. So uh, scouting is encompasses a lot more than just picking a country it encompasses uh finding a crew, whether that's, your best friend for, you know, or a group of people you're going to go with a cz well as, uh, you know, finding that location that's going to be ideal for your next photo adventure clarification question. You shoot raw, correct, correct, and you've been talking a little bit about white balance. A lot for a lot of photos is this stuff is the white balance. Do you bring this and after the your camera or after the fact? So I tried? Tio shoot is much in camera as possible. Uh, when I bring the images in photos, her light room essentially will give me the opportunity to be able to tell what I shot it, as because it basically it comes up is a default, you know, basically really sort of like law adobe, you know, white mounds ah, and or ah, picture control, um, you know, I try to have it be as much in camera as possible. Uh, the white balance is read by light room, but the picture profile is not so I tryto have the marriage. The happy marriage of the two things because I want to have the most flexibility is possible.

Class Description

Learn how to capture the intensity and movement of an epic experience in a single, still photograph with Lucas Gilman in Adventure Photography.

Lucas is one of the most celebrated adventure photographers in the industry. His work is infused with color and energy and in this class, he’ll show you how he creates his amazing images. 

You’ll learn: 

  • How to take powerful adventure and outdoor images
  • The key to selling to commercial clients
  • Gear and equipment essentials
  • Post-processing tips and techniques

Lucas will share the history and process behind some of his most challenging and exciting shoots. He’ll also offer tips on how to prepare for long stretches of intense outdoor shooting and how he keeps his gear bag stocked for adventure.

Let one of the industry’s most exciting photographers show you how to inject excitement into your outdoor images in Adventure Photography. 

Class Materials


Big Sur On Location Gear Guide.pdf


Ultimate Adventure Photography Gear Guide.pdf

Media Management Gear Guide.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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This class is perfect at all things. The best class for nature photography with or without model. Personally for me this class is best of all because we have most practical learning, that is perfect. I have sense just like I am there. I am gladly wait for starting today class because this class is two days. Buy it that material must to watch and have it on your hard disk! Just perfect. Regards to Lucas and Creative Live.


Lucas is an amazing photographer. I love how he keeps it simple with the way he explains and shows things. This class is perfect for anyone with a camera, as you can take his teachings and apply it to not only adventure photography but to any style.