Monday 23 March 2015

Photo Tips: Roadside Photography - North America + Photos

Western Scrub Jay
We've found road tripping are a great way to see the world but if you are anything like me (and Jackie), every time you see something interesting you want a photo of it!  While it might sound surprising roadside photography can be a great way to get amazing photos so I thought I might fill you in on my experiences in North America.

In the US and to a slightly lesser extent in Canada people always give stopped cars a wide berth and will usually change lanes if there is a car stopped beside the road, even if you are well clear of the road.  While it's not a big issue it kinda makes you feel bad about pulling over for photos, particularly if the roads is busy.  

The major interstates are busy and fast moving and are not a great place to stop most of the time which was a bit sad because we saw many hawks perched quite close to the side of the road but just couldn't stop safely, often because we couldn't see them in time.  Many roads did not have wide shoulder and even when they did it was not uncommon for trucks to drive on the shoulder (mostly up hills with a heavy load) so you want to be able to get off the shoulder as well where possible.

  1. Focusing on driving is your first priority and keeping safe while driving or stopped
  2. Keep you eyes in the tree tops (when you get the chance from watching the road) particularly if you are interested in birds of prey
  3. Keep your camera handy (always a tricky decision of leaving the wildlife or landscape lens on the camera)
  4. Often stopping the car can scar off animals even if they are fine with trucks fly past at 80 mph.  If you can stop and then wait a little while before switching off the engine, particularly for birds (tip from a safari guide).
  5. Avoid getting out of the car for wildlife if you can
  6. Try not to look directly at the animal or walk directly towards it, zig zag as you approach on a diagonal
  7. I mentioned in the rental vehicle article, a 4wd can give you some extra options and/or peace of mind when pulling off the road

Now on with the photos...

On transit to Monument Valley
Juvenile Bald Eagle
Wilson Arch, San Juan County
Taken from a tiny town with no name (according to google maps) on the Buffalo River along with the swans below
Roadside stop between Bozeman and Livingston in Montana
Mule deer crossing the road not far from Yellowstone National Park
They need a way over the fence too...
Roadside stop after the Arizona snow storm heading North to the Grand Canyon
A North American Magpie on the road to Yellowstone

For some other 'roadside photos' you can check out just about any of the posts but the Canada Fly-by post was also a little less region specific.

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