How do you start? Where do you go? Right now, when working, finding long stretches just isn't going to happen; we need to go nearby...
A nearby area we've never been to is Pismo Beach. So I think a trip starts with a well known spot and then exploring what's around there. We've made a reservation down at an RV park in Pismo Beach. From a photographic point of view (or even a new visitor) how do you find out where to go and when? Well lots on the web of course, but tonight I started looking at the DeLORME map book of Southern California (looks like DeLORME has combined N & S California into one book now). This is a great resource that shows all the little back roads and landmarks in the areas; many not immediately discernible on the web. You will definitely need a magnifying glass to read all the tiny names, but it's an amazing atlas. A photo loupe will work too! :-) As and REI fan, I'll point you to where you can find these on the REI site: http://www.rei.com/product/776727/delorme-california-atlas-and-gazetteer
For example who would have thought of looking at See Canyon Rd.? Well it's a squiggly red line on the de Lorme map and when I googled it I found out it's fantastic for it's unique apple climate and quite a scenic ride (some gravel road; whoop!). And Montana de Oro State Park? The Elfin Forest? San Luis Lighthouse? Pt. Buchon trail (nice easy trail with views of the rugged coastlines). And there's much more. Looks like one trip will just touch the tip of the iceberg for this area.
Good way to build the excitement of a trip! There are also some photographer specific programs that will really help in determining the tides, where the sun/moon will rise and set at any location, etc. I'll keep posting about tools that I use so that when I find a nice scene I can figure out when the best light might be.
But enough for tonight. Thanks for reading!