Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Along The Road

Unexpected Opportunities

National parks, thriving cities, architectural marvels. We love to visit these visually remarkable places. They offer extensive photographic opportunities. If we travel to Grand Canyon or Yosemite, Paris or San Francisco, Alaska or the Serengeti, we expect to come home with a gallery of amazing images.

But we live on a big, beautiful planet. Celebrated destinations don't hold a monopoly on scenic wonders. 

Breathtaking vistas are everywhere. We might notice something extraordinary when we're simply driving down the road.  

a photo of wildflowers in the sierra nevada mountains california
Along The Road - Eastern Sierra Region

When we see a beautiful view as we drive along the road, it's natural to want to pull over and take a photo. Just be careful. Safety is always the first priority. No photograph is worth risking serious injury. 

Never put yourself or your family in danger by diverting attention from your driving, or by parking in or shooting from a dangerous location.

But when it is feasible to stop your car safely, to park it in a location where other drivers aren't likely to collide with it, and to operate your camera safely away from hazards such as traffic and cliffs, you might just capture a roadside vista to remember.

Your "along the road" photos offer two distinct advantages over the oft-photographed view of big cities and national parks. 

Firstly, your photos will be more distinctive and personal. Rather than photographing the same scenes that everyone else has snapped (and published), you are creating a portfolio that reflects your own personality and tastes.

Secondly, you stand a better chance of optimizing the quality of light. Keep watching. When the light hints that it might take on a magical quality, you can shoot in that moment, in the place where you are, rather than racing to some pre-decided destination.

Will the photos work out every time? No, of course not. Some locations might be obscured by power lines or other features that you can't control. Or when the light looks interesting, you might find yourself in a place where it's too dangerous to park. 

Don't worry about missed opportunities. There are lots of frustrating days in the life of a photographer. The important thing is to keep yourself open to possibilities no matter where you are. Over time, you'll get better at recognizing those opportunities, at capturing the magic wherever you happen to be.

Camera:    Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens:        Canon TS-E24mm f/3.5L II 

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved