Many people overlook their own backyards or neighborhoods for great photo opportunities. After all, it is the area you should know the best. When are the peak times of year to capture fall color? When does the sun set at just the right time over the bluff? What mornings are you free to capture the mist coming off the lake or open field? You should know the answers to these questions much more readily than you would a far off locale. Many a great photograph can be captured in your own backyard or park with little planning and sometimes just sheer luck.
Make an itinerary
This may involve getting a schedule of the local festivals in your area and marking your calendar for the most important ones. Every photographer has a special area of interest and you might be surprised how many gatherings or organized events are perfect photo opps. Airshows, historical reenactments, parades, bicycle races, bird releases and the like are becoming more common in every community's summer calendar.
Discover the wild things
Nearly every community has a group of people passionate about gardening, cultivating exotic plants or just simply exploring the natural world. Among these groups are local places they will know of where they can explore these things. Local flower gardens, an open field blooming with spring wild flowers or an area populated with deer become wonderful photo venues at certain times of the year and are worth finding out about.
Get out at night
Many things occur at night that may provide some neat surprises. Buildings lit at night, carnivals after dark and fireworks are some of the things that can offer stunning visual appeal. Even the night sky with the stars performing their magic can open windows for capturing great images. Painting with light is easy to do with the help of a friend or two and can make the playground set sparkle at night with the color of a rainbow.
At the homefront
Setting up the backyard for great photography may be as simple as putting up a bird feeder in a wooded corner of your lot or planting a few exotic flowering plants that also attract butterflies. Indoors can be turned into a small studio-like set up for table top arrangements that come to life with just the right combination of lighting.