I often get asked at talks how I go about hunting and recording locations for use in my books. The answer is… it depends. My habits have changed radically over the years.
In the beginning I did what I’d been trained for — walked round with a pen and notepad and scribbled down anything of interest. It worked, after a fashion. The trouble is I’m not good at reading my own handwriting, I lose anything that’s paper and you have to sort the wheat from the chaff afterwards.
When I was researching my first Italian book, now The Cemetery of Secrets, I tried photography for the first time. In Venice I shot off four rolls of film and took them to be processed the day before I came home. The lab kindly ruined the lot. Ahem…
Then along came digital cameras. Now there’s a possibility.
My latest tech tool is the best to date. Yes, it’s a camera, the Samsung Galaxy Camera to be honest. But it’s also a kind of phone hybrid too. You can’t make phone calls with it. But you can handle data, either through wifi or a phone sim card. And being Android it has all the usual apps. So I can shoot a photo straight into OneNote (or Evernote if you prefer) and annotate a note directly on it.
And it has GPS too so I get an automatic location for where the shot was taken.
The photo quality is OK rather than great. The battery life is that of a phone. But this is still a great advance on a notebook full of scribbles I can barely read.
Now off to hunt down some scenes for the next book…