View Full Version : No Crowds!

John Kasaian
28-Jul-2005, 10:06
The summer tourist season has arrived big time, yet I'm amazed to see how uncrowded some of the less popular but no less scenic parks are. I was in Seqouia/Kings Canyon NP on Saturday and there was no traffic, no lines, no (well hardly any) people! A couple of week ends ago I was driving through Yosemite NP and it was gridlock!

So, what tips do you have for people visiting your neck of the woods? What notable scenic areas offer the physical space to set up your tripod?

Steve Hamley
28-Jul-2005, 10:32
I'm in the Smokies and if I had to give only one tip, it would be "Avoid Pigeon Forge no matter how far you have to drive - you'll save time."

Tip#2: Avoid Cades Cove on the weekends.

Tip#3: Head for the Blue Ridge Parkway if you can. The southern portion "dead ends" at Mt. Mitchell above Asheville and that's reduced traffic. Great scenic area to beat the heat.

Favorite less traveled Smokies place: Tremont area.


David E. Rose
28-Jul-2005, 10:51
Try downtown Detroit. Almost no people around on evenings and weekends and lots of beautiful old decaying architecture to shoot!

28-Jul-2005, 10:52
I don't think I can afford to go anywhere again this year. Last month I went from Florida to Tennessee for my Mother's 102th birthday, and found it was cheaper to fly and rent a car than it would have been to drive my Toyota gas guzzzler! I'll bet that there's some real bargains on hotel rooms in London right now, though.

Keith Laban
28-Jul-2005, 11:24
Despite the fact that I've been taking photographs for more years than I care to remember I could count on the fingers of one hand the times that I've encountered another photographer.

Paul Butzi
28-Jul-2005, 11:37
I just returned from photographing and co-leading a workshop on the WA coast. Conditions were beautiful, the weather was cooperative, and there were very few people on the beaches - unusual at this time of year and at the time when the low tide lines up with sunrise.

Beach 3, Beach 4, Ruby Beach, even First Beach and Rialto (all the way north to Hole in the Wall) were essentially deserted, at least before about 10am and after about 5pm.

Michael Kadillak
28-Jul-2005, 11:52
I agree with Keith. Out West the landscape is so broad that you practically have the place to yourself if you are a photographer. The obvious exceptions are the national parks that draw in the tourists in droves. After about September 1st however, even these vacate pretty effectively.

On the other end of the spectrum a fly fisherman by the very nature of the sport is relegated to some rather tight places and it has gotten progressively worse over the last few years. I was trying to remember the last time I was out with one of my rods and I could not remember.

I also find that a personal request to make a photograph on private property is so rare and unusual in this day and age that it always rates a positive response.

Time to head out to the hills!


mark blackman
28-Jul-2005, 13:09
Summer? It's approaching autumn/winter on half of the globe. Where is Seqouia/Kings Canyon NP? I checked my London AZ and couldn't find it. What is a parkway? Beach3, Beach4, is this somewhere in North Korea? Out West - Lima, Kerry, Saint Louis, Chowghat, etc? Are you all, perhaps, making parochial assumptions? It’s bad enough putting up with ‘jokes’ from morons about exploding Muslims, now I have to deal with insular pinheads who contribute to a thread entitled “Location/Travel” and give details about minor issues in a tiny corner of the world. Why not post this stuff somewhere appropriate and not clog up a LF forum?

28-Jul-2005, 14:27
Mark, have you ever met the other LF user from the Southern Half of the planet? You'll like him. I think he's probably gay, too. His name is Omar, or something.

Brian Ellis
28-Jul-2005, 15:08
When someone mentions a location that sounds interesting and I don't know where it is I usually just email the person who mentioned it and ask where it is. Over the years I've found that to be more effective than calling them pinheads.

Kevin Crisp
28-Jul-2005, 15:17
This insular pinhead had written down the Washington locations mentioned since I haven't been there yet. Thank you, Paul. I didn't think it a stretch to figure out why such information might be in the "location/travel" part of the forum.

Paul Butzi
28-Jul-2005, 15:18
Beach3, Beach4, is this somewhere in North Korea?

Beach 3, Beach 4, Ruby Beach, First Beach, Rialto Beach, and Hole in the Wall are all, as I indicated, on the WA coast. WA is the postal abbreviation for Washington State, in the United States of America.

now I have to deal with insular pinheads who contribute to a thread entitled “Location/Travel” and give details about minor issues in a tiny corner of the world

Oh, give me a break. If you type 'ruby beach wa' into google, the first page of hits is nothing but info about the place. Likewise "rialto beach wa". Same thing with "first beach wa". It's not as if a second's work wouldn't have given you enough information to figure it out.

Washington has a population of 6.2 million people and is roughly 3/4 the size of the entire UK. Not knowing about Washington State is is about the same as not being familiar with Scotland, Paraguay, Israel, or Laos (by population) or Syria, Cambodia, or Senegal (by land area).

I agree with you that one of the two of us is an insular pinhead, but I'm reasonably confident it's not me.

I'm also fairly sure that the last time I was in the UK they sold world atlases in the bookstores. You might want to buy one; it will help in your studies.

28-Jul-2005, 16:41
Bill, congratulations on contributing the most cretinous comment yet.

John Cook
28-Jul-2005, 17:20
Poor mark, y'all in Londonistan still can't get over people who accurately call things what they are. Would it make you feel any better if I vow in future to use the more correct euphemism, "Rapidly Expanding non-Judeo-Christians"?

As for travel in this neck of the woods, New England remains a geographic funnel which "drains" into a single highway onto the bridge over Cape Cod Canal. Still plugged up until the little kiddies return to school in September. Then busy-ish only on weekends until mid October. Salt air keeps the snow to a minimum during the winter. Good time to be alone on the beach with a camera. Nothing but locals. Restaurants empty.

Vermont and New Hampshire have the lake visitors now, the leaf peepers in October. Heavy snow doesn't usually begin (dependably) until January 1st for the ski crowd. In between these periods, the place is a photographer's paradise.

Maine sea water is always too painfully cold to swim in. A big advantage in reducing crowds of beach tourists, especially as you progress up the coast. Except for Bar Harbor which is always packed with NYC yuppies field-testing their new L.L. Bean wilderness duds (made in China - go figure). Best two trips I ever took up there were in April and during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

Imagine being the only couple in the entire restaurant. Drinking wine and eating fresh-caught lobster in front of a roaring fireplace surrounded with potted poinsettias. Don't get no betta than that. Ayah!

Scott Fleming
28-Jul-2005, 19:21

You may already know this area but have you ever checked out Mountain Home State Forest right below Kings Canyon? Very under populated most of the year. It's a great point from which to strike out up into the heart of the Sierra as well. Huge Redwoods at the intermediate elevations. Stop at the ranger station outside the park East of Bakersfield and get the map.

Paul Fitzgerald
28-Jul-2005, 19:35
Hi there,

I do love this place. ROFLMAO


Michael Gordon
28-Jul-2005, 20:21
Notable places are overrated. It's the unnotable places that are pregnant with potential and devoid of crowds. I'll take that over the same ol' rehash anyday.

Steve Feldman
28-Jul-2005, 22:02
John Cook -

The last time I was in Bah Habah the locals didn't say "Ayah". Sounded more like "Ayap" or "Ayip". They play ice golf with a red or orange ball.

Go figah.

Frank Petronio
28-Jul-2005, 22:05
Death Valley was nice a couple of weeks ago. Only 105 degrees. Only saw German tourists in long pants.

CP Goerz
29-Jul-2005, 03:01
I too was in Death Valley a couple of weeks ago and saw a GRAND total of 12 cars the whole four hours I was there. Its hot but the sand dunes aren't covered with people(and their footprints) soaking in the 'experience' and ruining a good large format landscape shot from said landscape photographer. ;-)

CP Goerz<div align="center"></div>

Daniel Blakeslee
29-Jul-2005, 04:06
The last time I was at Mt. Rushmore I had it all to myself. I didn't see one other person except for a couple of employees at the visitor center. A couple of days later I had Badlands National Park entirely to myself. I was there for several hours and saw only one single car as I was leaving. At both places the weather was mild and beautiful. I've often had Rocky Mountain National Park almost to myself in the middle of the week.

Frank Petronio
29-Jul-2005, 09:00
Besides going to national parks on off-season, you can also adapt your photographic vision to accomodate "normal" places that might not allow you to crop landscape into pristine wilderness. I thinking finding beauty and solace in our current environment is perhaps more difficult, but ultimately better for your soul.

I don't mean that you have to accept track houses or trash blowing through the margins of your landscapes, but recreating the Ansel Adams style nature images is hardly new ground. In fact, it is more like commercial work, since pretty wilderness scenes are what sell to the general public. Nothing wrong with it, but it isn't much of a challenge beyond the technical requirements of the using the camera.

Scott Fleming
29-Jul-2005, 09:13
Good idea frank.

Hey! How bout cemetaries. I bet you could get some cool shots in cemetaries.

Mike Lopez
29-Jul-2005, 10:25
Weston used about 3 pages in his Daybooks describing how meticulously he photographed a toilet.

CP Goerz
29-Jul-2005, 12:11
Hey F,

I agree that just shooting 'perfect' landscapes is somewhat narrowing as any subject matter shot to the exclusion of all other possibilities can be, if I understand the subcurrent of your note correctly. I shoot just for myself and have no particular inclination to sell images, I do appreciate a fine looking landscape and since one that is untouched by hand or foot is a bit rarer nowadays I can't resist the urge to snap a picture when I see one.

I think if you shoot landscapes you are never going to find something that hasn't been done by Ansel/Eddy or a thousand other photographers before you. All you can do is stamp your particular style on the scene that may be lit in a way that no-one else may have had the chance to shoot in. I like landscapes but I shoot many many other things both commercially and for my bedroom walls, I just happen to enjoy the 'entire' process of taking landscape pictures, from planning the trip, choice of camera/film, the drive to the location/s, waiting for light, roaming around the place etc.

Its all great fun and I'm never going to have a show in any gallery or museum so don't have to raise the bar on my work or myself any higher than I feel like, some things I feel are just 'fun' and for me my photographic efforts will be left at that level. Maybe trying to extend beyond that would destroy some of the very enjoyment I get from taking pictures and since thats the main reason I do it I'll probably continue in my own little way.

CP Goerz.

Brian Schall
29-Jul-2005, 12:40
New Mexico. All of it.

125,000 square miles. 1.8 million residents, 1 million of which live within 30 miles of downtown Albuquerque. Lots of open space.

Frank Petronio
29-Jul-2005, 12:48
Andrew, I probably do the same shots you do, and I can't help but do a few Ansels when I visit Yosemite. But to miss the beauty of light on a hiking trail, or to worry about a few sky worms (Ansel's nemesis) is to miss much of what makes the experience worthwhile. I'd say we should embrace the fact that people walk around in the landscape, and that an occassional telephone wire or dusty road ain't such a bad thing to include in the picture.

CP Goerz
29-Jul-2005, 13:46

CP Goerz

John Kasaian
29-Jul-2005, 14:15
I'm not opposed to the landscape "as it is" that is to say, with evidence of civilization---in fact I think its an important element important in many situations.

One the best photos I never took was of a haystack near a dairy outside of Tulare(sorry for being a "pinhead" about this, but thats where the haystack was located!) The stack was covered with a tarp and weighted down with old tires neatly hanging off the sides. A bored farm youth no doubt added the big "M"s so passing motorists would get a laugh out of the larger than life MOOOOOO MOOOOOO spelled out on the side of the hay stack.

The crowds I"m avoiding are the sort that create traffic jams, overflow parking lots and create lines outside the lavatories and food concessions (when travelling with my 5 &7 year olds.) Part of the National Park experience in the Summer, or so I thought. Kings Canyon NP (there I go again being a pinhead) looked nearly abandoned when I was last there. It struck me as odd---but in a good way. I try to avoid Yosemite in the summer but I've got to drive through the place to reach some favorite campsites on the eastern slope. Now winter, spring and autumn in Yosemite are another story.

John Cook
29-Jul-2005, 18:06
John, speaking about avoiding crowds:

During the 1980's I made two month-long visits to London to make b&w photographs. Not being able to manage the LF rig around town by myself, I took the Nikon each time, with a brick of Tri-X 135-36.

Each visit produced a "brick" of street scenes, landscapes, park and river views, etc. without containing a single soul. Somehow, I inadvertently managed to make the place look like a ghost town. Do I get the pinhead award?

My tactic these days is based on the theory that nearly everyone stays in his car when "outdoors". We adults now see our city exclusively from behind the wheel, kids from the back seat. Not like our childhood when we walked everywhere.

So early Saturday morning I take my camera UNDER that bridge we all drive OVER during rush hour. It is often as deserted and pristine as the day it was built. I'm all alone at last. There is even one here in Springfield which still has Indian carvings in the sheer rock river bank.

Only let me emphasize EARLY MORNING, when the local controlled substance distribution brotherhood is sleeping it off.

Hugh Sakols
29-Jul-2005, 18:23
Living in Yosemite / El Portal, I plan to take off for the weekend in the Yosemite Backcountry. I doubt I will see many folks after I get off the trail 5 miles in from Tuolomne Meadows. The flowers are out, I'm hoping the mosquitoes are diminishing, and we are finally getting large cloud formations in the afternoon. Of course I will be hiking with a 6x6 camera. I have stayed away from the Yosemite Valley all summer. I personally have encountered fewer people in Yosemite's Backcountry than just about anywhere in the Sierra Nevada - you just need to work to get there.

Frank Petronio
30-Jul-2005, 09:02
For that matter, Comedy Central's Colin Quinn prefers the term "Dromedary Guidance Systems" over the demeaning phrase "camel-jockey."