How to See America by Postcard

The following post is sponsored by Pursuit Watches.

At the beginning of this yearlong road trip with my brother, I was looking for something new to create. Something I could look forward to in each state that would challenge me as an artist and explorer. It took six weeks and nine states to figure it out.Julia Pfieffer State Park Waterfall by postcard

I’d been saying it for a while; I wanted to see the places in America that you only see on a postcard. Postcard in hand above Hot Springs National Park, it all came together. I’d buy a postcard and find the location where the photo was taken, and recreate it with the postcard.

Now it’s become my obsession. Anytime we’re in a new place I’m on the hunt for a postcard. But finding a postcard view doesn’t come without its challenges. This is how I go about finding that postcard view:

Research

Some areas are going to yield more postcard views than others. Your job is to figure out what’s going to be best. Plan to find a specific area, where the sight’s plain obvious. Cities are hard to find because they’re always changing whereas a rock spire or a fallen rock is going to stay there, hopefully, for years to come.Big Sur California Postcard

Ask Questions

Certain locations are easy to find just by looking at the photo. Other locations are harder to find. Take a look at the top left corner on the back of the postcard; there’s a description and sometimes it’ll give you a specific place that you can plug into Google Maps. When all else fails, ask someone at the store if they can give you directions to the specific location.

Know the Time of Day

Timing is crucial. Knowing when to get to the location is crucial when you’re trying to catch the light at the right time. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to the location to set up and be ready for the light to be just right.

And enjoy the location!Death Valley National Park Daunte's View postcard

Have an Understanding of Photography

A basic understanding of photography goes a long way. You’ll be able to make sure everything’s composed well, is sharp, and that the background isn’t blown out and blurry. You want the postcard to be the focus, but you also want to be able to recognize that the background is the same location as what’s on the postcard.

These are the settings I prefer:

f/7.1-f/11

1/200 sec or faster

ISO 100

Again, those are my ideal settings, but I’ll adjust for the light and setting as I see fit, and so should you.Death Valley National Park Postcard

Be Prepared

You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get to some locations. And then you’ll be even more surprised at how difficult it is to find, and get to, others. Make sure you have plenty of water, snacks, and be aware of your surroundings so you don’t get lost trying to get that epic photo.

Whether you’re looking for something to do on a road trip or are trying to spice up a weekend, get out there and find a postcard view. You never know what you may find unless you get out there!

This post is sponsored by Pursuit Watches. Take a look at their stylish line of watches for the man and woman that wants to get out and explore what’s out there.