Friday, March 23, 2012

GEO-tography: Dirt Roads (mostly)

Roads - it's what Offroading Home is all about. Whether it's being ON them or OFF them all together in an ORV. The lure of going somewhere to see something often puts our mind on something other than the road; but, it's there none-the-less.

On the other hand, sometimes for us off-roaders it's the road which is uppermost in your mind, whether it is in the high-uintas or looking down the Scanlon Ferry Road and wondering if you're going to ever going to be able to get back out. But, surely (excepting New Yorkers) it's a rare human these days who hasn't trodden at least one dirt road.

So, here is a collection of photographs of some of the world’s dirt roads just to show you how universal a dirt road is and how they can be used to add interest and perspective to the photographs we take.

Practical Tips for Off "Road" Photographs

One would think that photographing a less-traveled road shouldn't be too difficult, and it isn't if you compare it to launching a space shuttle; but, to get a good shot isn't a slam-dunk either.

First, you need to train yourself NOT to overlook that thing upon which you ride. If there is a segment of road which is sort of a "destination" in and of itself due to some unique characteristic then go for it, make it your central subject. Or, adding the road to another subject may add depth and perspective.

Then you need to decide from which vantage point you will be able to tell the best story or to highlight the reason that you chose it to be the one to "take home" to the family and buddies. Once you've decided that, then decide what time of day you should be there to highlight its features the best. Morning? Evening?

You know what? You're here to ride, not obsess over gadgets and buttons! We realize that in order for us to keep riding these trails we've gotta keep significant others happy to let us go out the door. And we know that takin' a bit of the road back with us (no I don't mean in the wash) will help "spread the joy" and grease the wheels of our "avocation" — which is why you want to at least try to get the best shot you can.

If you see something that awes you, sends chills up your spine or makes you think "man, I wish ... could see this" then get out your camera right then and there. Take a quick look around just to ask yourself, is there a better vantage point that I can easily get to?

If so, get off your rig and press the shutter then and there. I know that all the new-fangled cameras have that "vibration control" BUT it doesn't work on high-frequency vibrations, like that of a motor, get off your rig or turn off the key. Lean against something solid and take the picture. If you're like me you'll want to set a GPS waypoint at the same time so you can tell where you got the shot.

Most of us would rather spend money on gas than on film; so, unless you are taking photos for a magazine you are using a digital camera which doesn't mind at all if you press the button more than once. Take them low and high and from different angles – one of 'em is bound to be good. The goofy ones are easily erased so nobody will ever know.

Look at these photos to see what I mean. There are lots of ways to add interest to your photos by using the road that you rode in on in the frame.

Photo Inspiration



Ethan Crowley



Visualist Images



Stuck In Customs

Evgeni Dinev






Stuck In Customs





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