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Watching Out On the Road More Traveled

May 26, 2010
Late Winter in the Rockies, Mount Abraham

Late Winter in the Rockies, Mount Abraham

In my last post, I mentioned looking for opportunities along the “road more traveled”. Here’s another example of that.

This past winter, I was able to spend a bit over 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies on a shooting trip with UK photographer David Clapp. We spent 8 days in the area of Abraham Lake, a photographic wonderland in David Thompson Country. Our main targets were on frozen Abraham Lake itself, plus selected surrounding locations such as Cline Canyon.

During those 8 days, we spent a lot of time working our way back and forth along the David Thompson Highway, constantly moving from one location to another. It was definitely our road more traveled! One afternoon we spied some subtle rippled clouds developing up above Mount Abraham. This mountain has a signature formation that I’ve always really enjoyed, but not often photographed. Although our primary target was something else, on this occasion we decided to stop and shoot instead of just driving along as usual. The break lasted only minutes before the clouds dissipated, and we got back in motion.

When moving along the road more traveled, turn off the auto-pilot and keep those eyes open. Give yourself a bit of a time buffer if you can, so you can stop. Every so often, explore a new nook or cranny off to the side. Be alert to changing conditions that might produce something beyond the routine. Take advantage of familiarity, and know where to stop when conditions look interesting. For the outdoor photographer, frequent access is a good way to counteract the need for that once-in-a-lifetime break in less frequently visited locations.

Do you have a thought to share about your road more traveled?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 07:32

    Hey Royce,

    Great advice! We often get so focused on just ‘getting there’ that we miss wonderful opportunities along the way. I find it hard to search for images when I’m not the driver. I’ll see a flash of something that will catch my eye, but by the time I process it in my mind, evaluate whether we should stop, and then mention it, we’re half a kilometre away! It has to be pretty good to then stop the car, turn around and head back (which of course you can’t really tell from just a quick glance). If I’m driving, as soon as I see something then I’ll let off the gas. Once you’re already in the process of stopping, it just seems easier to turn around and check it out. I try and set a mentality where every potential spot that said to me “Hey! Check me out!” has to be investigated. The only way to do this is to give yourself lots of extra time on your way somewhere.

  2. Alan Schietzsch permalink
    May 27, 2010 17:35

    Yes, great topic! Reminds me of the perfect little hoodoos on Highway 2. People say the road between Calgary and Edmonton is boring. They ain’t looking. Thousands drive past time after time, and no-one i’ve talked to about them has ever seen them! That highway makes a terrific personal assignment, there are some really great shots to be had. So there’s a challenge to enjoy!

  3. May 27, 2010 19:12

    Sam: I’m guilty of that for sure. As a passenger, it’s tough to speak up and break the momentum of the drive. Even as a driver with the control, it’s easy to be destination-focused. Got to remember the road itself could be the destination. 🙂

    Al: I like the idea of treating it as a personal assignment! Gives some motivation to peel back layers of a familiar place, or one otherwise known only as being on the route from somewhere to somewhere else.

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