on the road…

…with a camera.

A car is necessary in order to get from point A to point B – especially here in the United States. Beyond that, a car, to me, is just another object to waste money on. Good thing both cars and gasoline are still pretty low priced here in the US – at least to a Norwegian.

I do not have all that many initial require­ments for a car.
Mainly, it has to provide enough space for whatever I want/need to bring along, and for me to take short naps in on longer journeys – I hate to sleep in a car-seat.
I also prefer white or light-colored cars, to reduce the heating-effect from the sun.

The Buick Terraza minivan I bought back in 2010, satisfy my requirements quite well. It doesn't look bad either if I should say so myself.

Another good factor is that as long as the windshield is reasonably clean and free for bugs, the car is a pretty stable platform for taking pictures or video from. When there's no time or opportunity to stop, taking pictures while driving is the only option.

along the highway…

Driving up and down Interstate highways is not always all that interest­ing, but if nothing else the clouds may create nice views now and then.
For the most part I enjoy cruising along the Interstates, as long as rest areas to stretch my legs and/or take a nap when I feel like it, are not spaced too far apart.

Roads from the east up into Tennes­see, do present some steeper parts over the many watersheds.
These roads also show why the US is criss-crossed by highways, as the rock they had to cut into and through to build this road, is nothing like what we have to battle with to build roads back in Norway.

through the Smokys…

Not hard to grasp why they call this mountain-range Smoky Mountains. The clouds rising like smoke from the tree-covered hill-sides, almost make me homesick.
Don't know if it is wet and rainy all the time up in these mountains, but it was pretty wet the day I drove east on the I-40.

And here I am at one of the all-important rest areas high up in the Smoky Mountains.
Nice to look down at the clouds, and the people in the picture help grasp the scale.

along the less traveled…

Less traf­ficked roads, with places for rest and recreation, are just my “thing”. And, I can park the car before picking up the camera.
Here is a picture taken at a nice place for bird-watchers and others who like it quiet along the water-edge. And, it is only a 45 minutes drive from my place.

I was born by the sea – on the west coast of Norway, and do like to look out, all the way to the horizon, over large ares of the wet and salty stuff.
The Gulf of Mexico will have to do when I'm in Florida, and, honestly, it doesn't look at all bad from where this picture was taken.

“just click”

I don't walk around taking pictures all the time, but once I have the camera in my hands or near by I see no point in restricting myself – I just click away.

I take more pictures of ordinary objects and scenes, than I do of “featured” objects. Pictures of featured people, objects and landmarks can be found everywhere anytime, so I have no need for them in my collections.
When I look through my large collections of original pictures taken over the years, it is often the “insignificant gems” that stand out – like the weed I have included here.

Not many people in my pictures either, unless of course if people are the main reason I took a picture. People can also be useful as objects to measure natural and man-made objects against, for scale, but quite often people are just disturbing factors in a picture … sorry folks.

sincerely  georg; sign

Weeki Wachee 24.may.2012
last rev: 30.nov.2017


side notes.

photograph­ing while driving…

…can obviously be dangerous. Have to observe road and traffic well while handling the camera, to avoid running into potentially disastrous situations. Better to not use the camera while driving, but if you have to then, first and foremost pay attention to what is going on on the road around you.

safety first!

Firstly, I never look through the camera when taking pictures while driving, and do not have the image-screen on as it would only distract me. I “shoot from the hip”, or rather straight ahead through the windshield, in the general direction of the subject/scene.
The driver taking pictures through side-windows while driving at around 75 miles/hour, is, apart from it being extremely dangerous, also doomed to fail on too slow shutter in nearly all cases.

Secondly, the camera is on full automatic – without flash of course, so I don't have to bother about focus or any other technical details while driving. I am always storing images at almost maximum resolution (3888×2592) – that's more than 5MB on the chip pr. picture for the most complex pictures, so there's something to work on later.

Thirdly, lense is set “wide” (18mm) to capture as much as possible. Nice objects taken out of context usually don't tell much. Having good pointers in the original picture is a must, even if they get clipped out later.

Lastly, I usually take 2-3-4-5 pictures of the same scene as I pass by, in the hope that at least one picture will contain good parts. Memory-capacity isn't a problem, and one good picture for every ten or so is actually quite good.

finding good parts.

If a picture is any good, or has good parts in it, nearly all imperfections can be corrected during post-production. Thus, no need, or use, to bother about quality till then. With high resolution on the original, there's next to no loss in the corrected, rotated and clipped final picture. This is especially true for pictures that are to be reduced in size to be released as content on web pages.

post-processing.

I have done my share of dark-room post-processing – still have a 300lbs overhead camera and most else needed to make large reproductions. These days it is all-digital of course, and I hardly ever make paper-copies.

The hardware at home is the same as for all other digital work, but while traveling a simple laptop with good screen and lots of memory works just as well.

The software I have landed on after having tried nearly all that is available – at a price or not, is Gimp. This free software has all the functionality, and the quality, I need for post-processing my images.

safety-copies.

Before doing anything to images, I make sure I have safety-copies of all originals. Losing precious originals because a chip, laptop or PC hard-disk fails, can't be fun. Haven't happened to me yet, but better safe than sorry.

Storing copies somewhere safe from environmental and human impact, is always a good idea. The ideal is a place with stable low temperature, low humidity, and no electric and/or magnetic fields that may slowly destroy memory chips or whatever media precious pictures and other important data are stored on.
Having more than one copy, that are not all stored at the same place, is also smart.

Copies must also be checked from time to time, to make sure they are good. Making new copies every other year or so may also pay off, as not all digital-storage media are reliable over time.

equipment.

For the record, I use a Canon EOS 400D, bought in 2007. It has extra battery-package for added capacity, and the extra weight and size makes it even easier to handle, and more stable, in all situations.

Better cameras are released every day, but the “Rebel” does its job just fine with the settings I have on it, so I am unlikely to retire it anytime soon.
Have extra lenses for it, but rely on the standard 18-55mm lense 99% of the time.

Am contemplating getting a stand for placing the camera and video-camera on the dashboard, if I can find a suitable one. Are a few that might work, but have yet to find the ideal dashboard-stand.

imagination.

In order to take interesting pictures of anything from anywhere, open eyes, quick reflexes and creative imagination, are key ingredients – much more important than the equipment.

Another “trick” is to not delete anything, as all reasonably sharp pictures contain something that may be used somewhere. If not now and for whatever we are trying to catch today, then maybe later for something completely different.


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