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Monday, December 19, 2011

Photography from a Moving Vehicle

Coober Pedy is an outback Opal Mining town where people live underground in dug outs and the terrain is peppered with active and disused mining shafts.

In the outback the Legendary Royal Flying Doctor service may need to make emergency landings on the highway so on the Stuart Highway and also the Eyre highway airstrips are designated on the road and can be seen from he air.

Airstrip markings on  Stuart Highway

One of the great advantages of digital photography is that you can afford to fire off shots from a car or other vehicle while on holidays, short or long.
In the days of film shooting it was an expensive hit or miss exercise but now you can really perfect your success rate with practice.
Ideally a car that is a little higher/taller than the average sedan is the best.
We have had 3 long trips in a Kia Carnival(2) and a Kia Sportage (1).

We found these vehicle gave you a good view as you travelled through the country side.
So what do you shoot while in a moving vehicle?
Pastoral scenes of crops, rolled haystacks,old buildings, country pubs and general stores,mountain ranges, birds or wildlife, oncoming vehicles,the sweeping curves of the road ahead, sunsets and sunrises,roadworks and earthmoving plant,night scenes on the road,rain, storms, clouds and road signs  to name a few.
You are really only restricted by your imagination.

You can build up some interesting portfolios.

Equipment: you do need a digital slr or film camera if you are rich.

A good view out of the window.( avoid reflections in glass)

The camera needs to be in your hands and ready to shoot quickly.

Anticipate your shots as you see something approaching. It's not thinking on your feet but thinking on your seat.

Experiment with your settings.

Remember as you fly through the countryside shooting from the side window  things in the distance appear to be moving slowly but things close to your window will be a blur. So some shutter priority with a fast shutter speed in good light is a good option.

You can put your camera on program but you will get better results with shutter priority.

Taking shots from the front window is usually not a problem as there is no sideways movement in your subject.

Of course a camera going off all the time next to the driver can be distracting so be thoughtful about this and shoot sparingly.

One of Australia's top photographic couples, Trent Parke and  Narelle Autio , I believe , did a whole series of photography from the front window of their car as they travelled around Australia.

There is also a book produced by I think a New York Taxi Driver who took shots from his taxi.

The downside to all this  lots of editing afterwards but you will find plenty of keepers.

Also don't forget video. You can capture lots of interesting movies from a moving vehicle.

If you are clever and can edit movies and stills you can make great audio visuals of your holidays.

So have fun on your next trip.

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