For any landscape photographer who prioritizes getting the money shot over serendipitously stumbling on a picturesque scene, using apps to predict the weather and to visualize an image is a foundational aspect of their workflow. While there are some incredibly useful apps out there, there isn't much that could beat being able to virtually travel to a location and time.
In this video, photographer and educator Blake Rudis of f64 Academy explores the amazing scouting opportunities that are possible with some affordable VR hardware and Google Earth. When we first saw VR technology hit the shelves, for many, the price-point and the then low number of applications available didn't warrant a headfirst dive into the new realm. However, as you'll see from this video, VR hardware is now at a very reasonable price and so might be worth investing in — even if it is just to explore the possibilities of the tech.
But while the Oculus Quest 2 — coming in at $299 at B&H — is certainly affordable, it's not the only piece of kit you'll need in order to virtually transcend space and time. You'll need to make sure that your computer has the specs to be able to handle such a task. This is something that you will need to research for yourself.
The benefits for all you dedicated and pedantic planners are amazing. Having the ability to be able to stand inside your potential scene just as the galactic core of the Milky Way is in the right place is something that could have only been dreamed of 10 years ago. Hopefully, some forward-thinking and creative photographers will be able to use this technology in a way that is yet to be imagined.
Have you tried using VR to scout locations?
Well, I watched the video expecting to be underwhelmed. I wasn't underwhelmed. The idea of using VR for scouting is actually way more interesting and usable than I expected. Definitely a step up from streetview and Google Earth.
The only question I have is how do I know if the locations I want to scout are in proper VR and not just flat views like some of the examples?