It’s simple — it’s whatever we make it. There isn’t a park dedicated to photography so we will literally be creating the first one. But to more directly answer the question, let’s start with the most basic of items. The best outdoor photographs are made when the light is best. Great light makes for great photography. When is the light best? Around sunrise and sunset. When are most parks open? Certainly not for sunrise. And many aren’t open for sunset. This is the first need outdoor photographers have that isn’t being met. Access at the times they need to be there.
Speaking of sunrise and sunset, everybody loves seeing a beautiful sunset. Where do you go to see one? If you can come up with an answer (many people can’t), I’d be willing to bet your sunset spot is marred by utility wires and/or outdoor lights. We all routinely filter these objects out (mentally) of our vision but a camera doesn’t.
A Photography Park will have a sunset spot. And a sunrise spot. Probably more than one. And it will be open to take full advantage of them.
Those are the big, easy-to-understand items as to what photographers would like to see in a park. The are numerous others and nothing will explain them faster than pictures. One of the first questions I got when I first started talking about this idea was, “Aren’t all parks photography parks?” If only.
Indian Springs is right down the road from us. It is Georgia’s oldest park. From a photography standpoint, it is one of the ugliest parks I have ever seen. There is a beautiful, rock-strewn stream at the entrance. You literally can’t get a picture of it without this road, a bridge, a sign, a building or utility wire getting into the frame. (Take note of the street light. It will be even uglier at dawn and dusk.)
But all is not lost. Even this “ugly” park had 219,516 visitors and generated $13,884,387 of tourism spending in 2009. (According to Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites.) I want a photography park. The citizens of Pike County want to stay rural while generating some tax revenue with jobs. I believe we can work together.
Another Georgia State Park close to Pike County is High Falls. Again, according to the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, High Falls generated $33,582,398 in tourism revenue with 530,947 visitors that helped generate 390 jobs locally.
Perhaps it is a prettier park? I’m afraid not.
It doesn’t look any better in the sunshine either.
I’d like for you to think about the demographic you’re trying to attract with a photography park. Photography can be an expensive hobby. In some cases, very expensive. Most photographers carry around several hundred dollars worth of equipment. Many have thousands of dollars worth. It’s a desirable demographic. As I have pointed out, they want to be on location at sunrise and sunset. That means they need a place to sleep. And eat. I think a park lodge would be a great fit for Pike County. As you know, Pike County currently doesn’t have any motel rooms in the county. Nor any camping. A Photography Park could meet both of those needs.
As a matter of fact, a Photography Park could meet many of the needs of Pike County. Just because a Photography Park would be designed for photography doesn’t mean it has to be used exclusively for photography. Many structures and activities are “photogenic” and could be accommodated in a Photography Park. Need a place to park that historical cabin the developer wants to bulldoze? A Photography Park would have the land. As long as we don’t run a power line through the sky to it or put a silver propane tank beside it, it would be a welcome addition and of interest to photographers.