Roadside Pictures

It was a cloudy day in the D.C. suburbs.  We are getting some badly needed rain.  And, I had to make a short trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia.  So I drive westward on Interstate 66.  The clouds were hanging low as I approached the highlands of Shenandoah National Park.  A little past the exit to the park, the sun peeked through the clouds.  The low lying clouds, the fall colors highlighted by diffused sunlight – it was beautiful.  So what kind of photography can you come up with while taking pictures from the side of a highway?

There’s only one way to find out.  Slowing down from seventy miles per hour, I stopped by the roadside and glanced across the lanes of the interstate.  Nestled in what looked like a small nook by the mountain was a house surrounded by saturated trees sporting saturated autumn colors.  Out came the camera.  One click.  Another click.  Another click.

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It was time to go back to the highway and head westward towards Interstate 81.  The traffic remained relatively light as I reached the junction to I81.  Heading south towards Harrisonburg, the sun was beginning to set towards a horizon barely clear of clouds.  In some spots.  I saw a silo, the sun was setting behind some clouds, and I slowed down again to take more pictures from the highway.

DSC05101_sDSC05103_sAfter ten minutes in Harrisonburg, it was time to go back towards the D.C. suburbs.  It was getting dark rather rapidly, but in the rear view mirror I spied upon a bright red sunset.  The sun was nearly gone as I headed towards an exit at I81 and stopped by a gas station.  Through some barren trees, towards Interstate 81, I saw the last vestiges of light.

DSC03048_sWho knew that a gas station would be a good place to be to watch the sun set?  Photography is incredibly rewarding.  Images are waiting to be taken at almost every moment.  Just keep your eyes open and your mind free.  The pictures will be there for the taking.

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Seven Yards, Seventy Degrees

In photography, you pre visualize the images that you want to take.  If a location is nearby and familiar to you, you have probably taken dozens of pictures, each one slightly different, each one a variation of an idea that you want to execute.  I was drinking my morning coffee and walking around the coffee shop, something that I have done a hundred times before.  The modern building across the shop is fairly colorful.  Yellow and red highlights against the brown brickwork and panels.  I brought my camera to take the picture that I envisioned.

DSC05025_sIt turns out, however, that a minute earlier, I took the picture of shadows falling on the walkway and the walls of the building.  A lady with a suitcase fortuitously walked into the scene.  It wasn’t the picture I was planning to take.  It was the picture that presented itself to me.  And, even with all the colorful trimming on the upper part of the building, this picture full of shadows and light looks better in black and white.

Seven yards and seventy degrees.  From one spot, to the other, with the lens pointing in a different angle.  What the GPS will hardly notice, your eye certainly will.  Photography, like life, thrives in the unexpected.