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We all have been known to hop into the family vehicle and take off for parts unknown just to see what is over the hill! But when you try to eke out a living by the sales of your photographic effort generally a little more effort is required. I have been on two guided trips in the last few years and do highly recommend the practice.
I have shown a photograph of the time several friends and I were in Interior, SD at four in the morning waiting for a 6:30 sunrise. Resetting our watches for the time zone differences never occurred to us until it was too late. We had no agenda and it was fun because of the nature of the trip. We were 4 old military friends just riding around to see the sights. But that event did teach me something because I am much happier when I am efficient with my time!
Two terrific guided trips in my recent past were led by Jeff Clow with Dirt Cheap Photo Tours and by Richard Bernabe Photography in separate years. They were both enjoyable and inexpensive trips that gave me good images to sell on my website. Each tour guide was experienced in the neighborhood that we were visiting and familiar with the best times to capture a sunrise/sunset or when the animals were most likely to be present for photography. It may not sound important but my "happening" above proves otherwise.
Further, guides will usually have a negotiated hotel room rate for his photographers. Even meals are often discounted depending on the guide you select. Transportation may be handled by sharing rental cars or outright provided by the guide along with entry fees into the park when necessary. Several scenarios are possible and depend on the guide. I used to have a walking problem and made the two guys above aware prior to the trip and we made a provision for my handicap.
Communication solves most problems when present! Knowing the best time to show up is a result of the guide having researched the area by doing the tour on his own long before soliciting a customer for the trip. Some guides will be so busy shooting their own pictures that they have no time for their customers, but these two gentlemen are not like that. They are delighted to assist you with the use of your camera and will even suggest a shot if you need help. Further, if you are not in need they will just make sure you are in the right place and leave you to your own devices! Totally accommodating!