Photographers, if you’re not asking locals every chance you get about their favorite scenic spots in the area you’re missing out on hidden gems like this (below – waiting for me to photograph tonight and tomorrow morning).
I’ve yet to meet someone who wasn’t more than willing to talk about their favorite locations. Don’t ask other photographers, smile, strike up a coversation (comment on the weather, etc) and ask the gas station attendant, the waitress/waiter, or the person standing next to you in the grocery line. I’ve asked people at a restaurant as I was leaving after overhearing their conversations.
Telling them I’m a photographer from out of the area completely relaxes them; they want to help me. If it’s appropriate, I may ask them to hold on while I get my map so they can show me exactly the spot they’re talking about.
I also carry a small journal and pen with me so I can take notes. I recently started carrying a small voice recorder to record my own thoughts as well as recording someone giving me detailed directions to a location. Both of these are small and can easily fit in a pocket, bag, or purse.
There’s a local tour company here in Sedona called Pink Jeep Tours (marketing genius!). This morning, I saw a gentleman pulled off the side of the road in a pink jeep who was by himself. I flagged him down and gave him my spiel. This was one of the places he told me about.
Who better to give up some hot locations and save me a ton of time? Not to mention locations that I would mire than likely probably find, even though this one sits only 50 yards off the road.
A lady who was at some ruins I visited this morning used to drive a pink jeep. She detailed four areas on my map that are out of the way and very scenic. Plus, she gave me a tip on the best burger in Arizona at a restaurant only 25 minutes from here (in Jerome).
What a gold mine!
Anyone that you have an opportunity to ask “Are you a local?” <<insert idle chit-chat here>> then, “where’s your favorite, most scenic spot around here you like to visit?” should be approached.
Try it! You may be wonderfully surprised by the results. I know I am.