Originally published Oct. 1, 2012
Southern Minnesota is quite beautiful at this time of year. Much of the land consists of farm fields populated with corn and soybeans. The harvest stage of these plants is to turn a dark yellow, maybe even golden in color while some are the color of straw. Set this against the periwinkle blue sky, sprinkle in some clouds, and driving through those farm fields in September is very lovely indeed.
As a child I felt differently and quite detested these flat fields that seemed to go on as far as the eye could see. It would have been so much more interesting to view mountains or oceans than corn and soybeans. So I’m not sure at what point I turned over a leaf and had a change of heart about this part of the world I grew up in. Now instead of ignoring it, I wanted to photograph it.
How many of you see something while you are driving and you want to take a picture of it? This happens to me all the time. Usually I think “I’ll come back and photograph that later.” On long trips though, the opportunity might only present itself once. Maybe next time you come back it will have changed somehow.
Then, if you decide to stop and do it, you might find yourself thinking “that wasn’t so bad” and you might find another spot just a mile or two down the road, and then maybe another. It becomes impractical to keep stopping the car, especially if there are other passengers. It’s also fairly dangerous to be standing on the side of the highway. One time when I decided to pull the car over and get out (I was even on a gravel road meaning a lot less traffic), a farmer and his wife hurried out in their car to see what I was doing. It was a little more attention than I wanted – I was only photographing some hay bales. Now I wonder if they kept their gold bars in there or maybe something else?
Anyway, sometimes it seems easier if I could just operate the camera while driving. I know, this is a terrible idea. I really should have someone else driving the car but my 11 year old can’t reach the peddles yet. I’ve tried looking through the view finder while driving the car. Even though I’m still looking at the road, the perspective is different and it’s just plain dangerous. Sometimes you want to stop but there is nowhere to park the car.
This is when you must get creative. This time I did the shooting somewhat randomly by not looking through the viewfinder but trying to do the best I can to frame the image while keeping on my side of the road and clear of the ditch. I shot at a very high shutter speed since I was traveling at 55 MPH.
I’d love to hear how any of you manage to photograph things you see while traveling down a road or highway.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.