Whether you're on vacation in a new city or just exploring new areas not far from home, consider beginning your adventure by looking for a high place to shoot. Be it a mountain or a hill, a helicopter ride or a bridge, a little aerial perspective goes a long way toward learning about your location and creating great photographs that tell a lot about a place.
Consider a visit to Oregon's Mount Hood. It's clear within moments of arrival that this beautiful landscape is densely forested and beautifully snow-covered, even in warm months. But how can you really show that in one image? Maybe a helicopter ride is the answer, or just a journey to the top will allow you to see this all for yourself.
Along with gaining this unique perspective for photographs, taking to the air is also a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. This further completes the perspective picture, giving you a great idea of where to go to find particular shots, and even the scope of the place you're visiting.
But what if aerial views just aren't practical? Never fear, there's always higher ground. Even in the middle of the prairie you're bound to find a slowly rising hill that eventually becomes the highest point around. In a place with mountains-like The Cascade Range-getting to higher ground can be as easy as a ten-minute drive and parking at a scenic lookout.
The simple scenic overlook isn't the answer to all perspective questions, but it's certainly a wonderful way to do a lot of things at once. You can bring back pictures of a place that help explain it, and do this while you're quickly learning the lay of the land in a location you're experiencing for the first time. When you're just arrived and you're wondering where to start, don't hesitate to look up to find a better vantage point for beginning your photographic journey.