There are a lot of famous photography locations in the United States. There are national parks like Yosemite, Death Valley, and Glacier that boast numerous photography spots. However, there are also many photography locations that aren’t necessarily less popular; they’re just less explored. In this post, we are going to examine the the less experienced photography location of Savannah, Georgia.
When you live in the southeastern quadrant of the United States, you grow up with a soft spot for old, historic, sleepy towns. Savannah, Georgia fits that description perfectly. The quick bite to eat of fresh shrimp and cheese grits is just an added perk of this location.
When I first start out exploring a new location I always begin with the inner city. Travel photography can be a fun way to explore a new place and get a feel for the culture. Culture is a huge factor to capturing a location perfectly. Walking around historic Savannah gives photographers a lot of opportunities to shoot old architecture with southern charm.
After hitting the inner city, I decided to find some additional locations to shoot that are more my style. I prefer to shoot locations that are in nature, so I researched a location called Wormsloe Plantation. It’s a historic southern plantation with a long driveway lined with old oak trees.
This place is best to shoot under soft light conditions. In my case, I waited for a cloudy morning when I could be sure to photograph the old oaks without distracting highlights. The oak trees are like a tunnel and lead directly to the plantation home at the end. The driveway is so long and the trees are so numerous that even with a 70-200 lens you still can’t see the house!
Crowds can be quite large here, so arrive early or go on rainy days!
An added bonus is that Savannah is just a twenty minute drive to Tybee Island. Tybee has a completely different feel than Savannah. The historic area of Savannah is very “old south,” but Tybee feels more like South Carolina low country with a Georgian twist. Plenty of small beach homes with sandy yards sprinkle the sides of back roads as you drive closer to the shoreline.
Before I started shooting in Tybee, I wanted to do some location scouting. I went up and down the coast to find a perfect pier to photograph.
Planning to shoot a new location can be tricky because it’s not always easy to get your directions correct. Photography planning apps like PhotoPills do a great job of telling you where the sun will rise and set which makes my job a lot easier. After checking the location of the sun, I looked at the weather for the next day. Luckily, there were partly cloudy skies during sunrise.
With a watchful eye on the weather (and some hopeful prayers that the forecast would be correct), I set my alarm.
Driving to the pier I could tell that the sunrise would be decent at best. There were clouds on the horizon blocking the sun so I’d have to get creative with a lack of horizon color. I took some initial shots as I set up but nothing was impressing me. Next, I tried going under the pier.
The available light at sunrise illuminated the bottom of the pier and balanced well with the available light in the sky. I don’t always photograph people in an outdoor scene, but as two walkers strolled into my frame, they stopped in a perfect negative space between two pillars of the pier and I decided to press the shutter.
Not a lot of people are interested in photographing less popular locations. Maybe it’s because they aren’t photographically explored yet. Maybe people just don’t know about them. I want to challenge you to think outside the box with photography locations. Don’t always try to go to Iceland or Patagonia. Smaller places can be just as fun.
About the author: When David Johnston isn’t leading photography workshops and tutorials or hosting his popular photography podcast, Photography Roundtable, he can be found traveling the world taking photos to awe and inspire his viewers. David has a passion for sharing his knowledge of photography and has many educational offerings designed to help photographers improve their work. Visit his website at https://www.davidjohnstonart.com/.