On a visit to New Zealand some years back, I took over one hundred photos in one day at an important setting in a historical fiction manuscript I was preparing. Many were of signs that I didn’t actually refer to once I began writing, but having all those photos allowed me to choose the best fit. For example, the photo above may seem insignificant, but it was a location two characters passed over. Without the photo I would have forgotten this tiny detail.
As well as travel and photographs, I read novels and articles, scan the internet, listened to pod casts, and interviewed people to get the personal historical facts and setting accurate because I’m inspired by real settings, and savvy readers will spot an error.
I’ve conducted all of the above on more than one manuscript. So my point is, over-reading and research is always better than not enough.