|St. Louis Public Library cake|
- First and foremost, check the stl250.org website frequently. Not only are new cakes still being added (to date, 234 cakes have been installed), some cakes have been relocated. The list is available in an Exel file or PDF format, as well as my favorite - a locator map. There is also a phone app that you can download for free.
- Nearly all of the cakes on the list have active links, so be sure to check those out to learn more about the areas where the cakes are located.
- Pay attention to the "Location on Site" column shown on the list. It is very helpful to know exactly where you can find the cake. Also, some of the cakes are indoors or behind gates, so you need to be aware of the operating hours of the facility housing the cake. It is very frustrating to arrive on site only to find that the business is closed on Saturdays or holidays.
- While the "Location on Site" listing is pretty accurate, it is not always 100% correct. For example, the cake at the Museum of Transportation is actually located by the upper parking lot, not the lower lot. If you don't find the cake, go inside the building on site (if there is one) and ask. Businesses nearby may know the location as well.
- Plan your trips around the activities of the area, if possible. As an example, going to see the cakes around Clayton was a breeze on a Sunday, whereas heading there during the week would have been a lot trickier with all of the businesses and government offices open. I had no problem finding parking on a Sunday.
- Make sure to enjoy all sides of the cake, not just the front. Many of them are rich in detail, so take time to study the whole cake.
- Finally, here is an organization tip that has worked well for me. I use the locator map on the stl250.org website and zoom in on the area I plan on photographing. Then I do a screen capture of the map, opening it in a photo editing program to crop it to size. I save the map as a JPG, print it out, and number the locator dots I want to go see. I create a Word document with corresponding numbers, listing the name of each cake along with its address and location on the site. I take the map and the Word document with me when I go out to shoot, making the most of each trip.
Have fun with this - it truly is a once in a lifetime experience, and an opportunity to get to learn more about the St. Louis area. What tips do you have to share?