Why not just use an eBook?
Let's face it; there are several eBooks and physical books on finding locations to photograph. Throw in a bunch of web sites, and you're good to go, right? Well, not so fast.
eBooks are great. There's nothing wrong with them. You can tell each author has spent a considerable amount of time crafting the text, images and layout. They provide you with exactly want you want. How to approach the photo, best time of day, optional equipment needed, etc. Here's the thing - eBooks are a static medium designed to be read on a monitor or printed. In the field, I have enough equipment to carry. The last thing I want to add is a stack of paper or a book.
eBooks (PDF’s/Kindle) can be read on my phone, so what’s the problem?
- To view a PDF on the phone requires a lot of pinch zooming. For the first bit, that's ok, but after a few minutes, it gets tiring – fast.
- You can’t interact with the PDF except flipping pages.
- I can’t say “where’s the next location that’s closest to me?” or “What locations haven’t I seen yet?”
- There’s no easy way to search for a location I’ve seen in the book. The only thing I can do is add a bookmark or flip through pages until I find it.
- Here’s the worst part of eBook - navigating to a location. Ever tried to enter a GPS coordinate into your phone or car? Try it. Enter 51 12’ 43.1“N 111.30’ 47.2’W into your nav system – if you can.
Searching the Web
My free time is important to me. The last thing I want to do is spend hours scanning various web sites or images trying to find unique locations to photograph. Wouldn't it be great if each image posted to Instagram came with the exact location where the photo was taken? It would make the adventure we're planning a whole lot easier!
Like Instagram, there are lots of websites where I can find to find images on a location, but the vast majority don't provide detailed location information. We might have an approximate location, i.e., city, but where? Do you want to drive around endlessly? I don't. I'd rather be in front of the camera. But wait! There's Google images that are geotagged, why not just use these? Been there, done that. You can't trust all the geotags. Not all are 100% correct.
Here's the final nail in the web search coffin. You need data to access the sites. Depending where you are, there may be limited or non-existent data service. If you're visiting another country, you have to pay hefty roaming charges.
How do I know this?
PhotoSnug was the result of a photographic trip I went on a few years ago. After a couple of hours hunting for locations to visit, I quickly realized this was going to take a lot longer than I expected, so I sought out an eBook. I ended up printing out the eBook for the reasons mentioned above. After I had finished shooting the location, I rolled the paper up into a ball and threw it on the floor of the car. Did the eBook work, yes, absolutely! But essential information about some spots was missed because I forgot the paper in the car.
At the end of the vacation, I was happy with what I accomplished, but I vowed to find a better way of helping photographers like myself find spots to photograph. In short, create a better, modern experience, and thus PhotSnug was born.