There are two main rules to photography assignments, at least in my mind.
1. Always have a camera
2. Get there early
I can not tell you how many times over the last two years some of my favorite work has been done by leaving for an assignment early, or sticking around afterwards for a little bit. It's usually when I get my landscape jones taken care of. I stop on the side of the road whenever I see something interesting. The above photo is an example of that from yesterday as I went to cover a festival in Wilton NY. As I was driving down the road I saw that the mist was still on the water. I pulled an Uee, parked on a blind curve and started to set up for the shot. before I could get out my tripod (but had camera on and in my hand) a great blue heron took off into the distance. I got three shots off in aperture mode still set wide open on the lens. Luckily focus was fast enough and Nikon's 3d matrix smart enough to capture the right exposure while I lined up the composition I had seen in my head while driving. A few minutes later I would have missed the whole thing, being in a rush to get to the assignment. So next time breath deep, sit fast and see what else is on the roadside for you. I'll leave you with one more that I took while waiting to sit in on a Town board meeting in Wells, NY last fall.