Photo drives


Thanks to Gohlke, I’m thinking about instances when I’ve tried to photograph something that caught my attention while I’m driving or riding in a car. It’s an interesting exercise. Things always look different from a car and it’s often difficult to capture the way that movement and speed change my perspective.

In the rare instance when I’m not driving, I can practice actually shooting from the car. This is good practice (and yay for digital) for figuring out what works and what doesn’t and how movement at 70mph translates into static images.
pacheco pass
The expected workflow though is to recreate from the sidewalk what struck me from the road. Sometimes I’ll make a special trip to a location I’ve been noticing for months. In these cases, I don’t always know if what I’ll find is what I see when I’m driving. I just know that I’ve noticed something interesting on a drive and it deserves further exploration. In these cases, the drive is merely scouting for the photography.
western motel
motel capri
Othertimes I actually go out driving with the intent of photographing things which I see from the road. I’ve only really taken photodrives when I’m already traveling. This is distinct from stopping the car and exploring on foot. These are photos where I explore by car and hop out when I see something interesting.
O'Keeffe country
Finally, there are the times I see something during regular everyday driving which is so compelling that I immediately pull over and get out my camera. I’m trying to force myself to do this more often. But it’s hard. Driving is typically about the destination, not the journey—commuting or errands even moreso in this department. Delaying my arrival is always a difficult decision.
Everything must go.
cold sunrise
trash day
The last two scenarios are interesting as they force my brain to work really fast. It’s not enough to notice something interesting. I have to be able to figure out exactly what caught my eye and determine if it’s worth stopping the car before I’ve driven too far past it.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

3 thoughts on “Photo drives”

  1. Pingback: Zen | n j w v

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: