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The winding road

(clickity click on the image for a biggity big version)

I know, a road shot right?

This is yet another shot from my trip to Nelson/El Dorado Canyon southeast of Las Vegas back in mid-March. The clouds, the light, the winding road…were almost too much fro me to handle. I saw too many shots I loved and had to reel myself in thinking “Do you really need 25 more road shots Mike??

My real, unabashed answer to that from deep inside me is YES…but in reality, certain road shots are special, most aren’t and you gotta know when it’s worth it.

This photo was actually unplanned…I had parked on the other side of the road and was shooting some Cholla cactus on a hillside that were amazing looking with the sunlight (you may remember this shot). But as I turned to walk back to the car, I just stopped and saw the road.

A quick pause here. I love being a photographer. I love looking at something and seeing beauty in it that perhaps another person would never notice. It’s something to embrace.

The image above, for me, was full of unique elements that made it worth shooting. First off the light shining further up the road. The second was the way the elevation slopes upwards instead of down. The way it winds right to left and then back right. The way it rises on the bends. The clouds. The hills.

Sometimes scenes like this one speak only to us, not others. Not everyone else is going to appreciate it, or love it the way I do. But that’s okay. Be proud of what you see and what you compose. Own it, grow it, get better at it.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.8, iso 100)

The Gap

(To get more up close and personal, click on the image to view in lightbox)

Whatever. I love road shots. I’m sure people know this about me…but I make no apologies. Sometimes I think it’s almost cheating to shoot on the road, because you really don’t put a lot of work into it right? You just pull over, walk to the middle and shoot. It’s not like I hiked four hours to the middle of Yellowstone to capture something never seen before. I just stepped out of my car? It’s almost lame right?

Well, I think road shots helps capture the beauty of a country from the view that most of us see it from when we’re driving across it. But also…the way I treat road shots is that I’m looking for something unique. Shadows. Clouds. Landscape. Interesting features. I don’t just shoot any old road. There has to be a huge reason to make me pull the car over.

For example…in the image above: If it had been a clear day, I would never have stopped. It also just so happened that I LOVED the way the mountains and road basically disappear at a little gap in the horizon. I mean…that’s awesomeness right there.

I pay attention to how clouds contrast with the road too. Usually any type of clouds will work, but sometimes the best ones have opposing lines, or even parallel lines. The movement or direction of the clouds helps provide a contrast with the direction and look of your road.

I took this a few weeks ago as I was leaving El Dorado Canyon and the Nelson area. I was racing to capture the sunset that I posted on Wednesday (otherwise known as Se7en). But there was no way I was going to pass up this shot.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: Check out Chris Nitz Lego Wars competition! All the entries are in and they are fantastic!

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/11, iso 100)