This weekend I have a trip planned up to Northumberland. I'm going to be at Bamburgh Castle in time for the sunrise and then work back to my home in Scarborough along the coastline.
My planning for a trip like this involves researching locations on the web, on Flickr (which has a useful mapping facility), using The Photographer's Ephemeris to see where the sun will rise and set, checking tide times, using Google Streetview to work out angles and what might work. By doing this I have a pretty good idea of the shots I want to achieve before I get there, working like this gives me more time on location working with the light rather than rushing to cram everything in. I will then work to get the shots I want, once they're in the bag I go for bonus shots, angles I'd not thought of, places I'd not researched, scenes that I happen upon.
Preparation also includes checking and rechecking both my camera gear and my personal kit. I will get my cameras out, clean the sensors and ensure I've got a supply of charged batteries. The batteries on my Canon 1 series cameras are good for well over 1000 shots, I carry up to 6 depending on where I am going and how long for, and also taking into account the weather, batteries die much quicker in extreme cold, if it is that cold my spares live in my coat to keep them warm till I need them. I will clean all my filters and lenses, set the camera settings up to roughly what I expect to be using, make sure I've got lenscloths (when shooting near the sea spray can be a problem) and microfibre towels. My kit is mostly duplicated so if something stopped working I wouldn't be stuck, I might have to change my approach slightly but it wouldn't be the end of the world. I'll make sure I have loads of memory cards, I prefer to use many smaller cards and change them more often than use just one, if that one dies you've lost a lot of work. My cameras also back up my shots internally to another card, I also have an external backup drive that copies the contents of a compact flash card to a hard drive.
My personal gear includes waterproof trousers, walking boots and wellies, a Gitzo fleece and Gitzo Four Seasons photographers coat, both of which have a multitude of pockets to carry gear if I don't want to take a bag. Sealskinz gloves and a warm, if not stylish, hat finish the elegant look! I use a Zippo handwarmer which keeps everything toasty warm. Emergency chocolate and drinks are in the car, Kendal Mint Cake in the bottom of my camera bag for worst case scenarios.
I'll post another entry on what my workflow is when I return from a landscape shoot like this next week.