Tips to safely photograph a driving experience

Earlier this week I had to travel to what I consider to be a very rural part of Utah. My work assignment was to drive to Spring City, Utah, to interview some artists and collect a piece of art. Originally I had no idea where Spring City was, but after looking on a map, I found it about 15 minutes north of Ephraim. So when I hit the road at 5 am so I could make Manti for a sunrise photo of the LDS temple there, I set my camera on the tripod and placed it in a sturdy position in my back seat. I attached my 10-22mm Canon lens and adjusted some of the camera settings so I could capture a few photos during the drive – without getting caught up in an accident from distracted driving.

So at various points throughout my two-hour drive, I used my remote shutter release to capture a few long exposures of my drive. Here’s one captured about 45 minutes before the sun peaked over the mountains in the distance.

Photograph morning drive experience

Canon 60D | 10mm | 4″ | f/4.0 | ISO 200 | RAW

So, for anyone wanting to capture a photo while driving, here are a few tips to help you focus on the road – and not the camera.

1 – Use a sturdy tripod, and assure it is secured in your car so it doesn’t fall over during a turn or other movement of the vehicle.

2 – Set all of your camera settings before you hit the road, then keep them that way during the drive – do not try and adjust the settings while driving. If you decide to adjust them, pull over.

3 – Keep the view as wide angle as possible. The more you can capture of the setting, the better.

4 – Assure that your drive on the camera is set to work with the remote setting. Use a two second delay, so once you trigger the shutter, you have time to move the shutter remote from your shot.

5 – Don’t worry too much about how the photos are turning out. Just snap a bunch and check them once you can stop the vehicle in a safe spot.

6 – If you plan to use the flash – BE CAREFUL. You don’t want it to distract you or other drivers.

7 – Drive in as straight of a path as possible. If you veer a little, the lines on the road will become blurred beyond recognition.

8 – Note that lights in the distance, ahead of you, or anywhere in the shot may end up being wavy lines – unless you are on a VERY smooth road and have good shocks. Maybe that was just my car, but I thought I would pass that information along.

9 – If traffic is heavy, be extra careful so you don’t end up running into someone if it stops quickly or if someone cuts you off.

10 – If you’re driving on mountain roads or places where deer or other animals may be crossing the road, keep your eyes ahead of you so you don’t create road kill or end up on the side of the road with a smashed up car.

DISCLAIMER: I hope these tips help, and I do not claim any responsibility if anyone attempts to capture a driving photo after reading this post and ends up in an accident. It can be dangerous, so please exercise caution.

~signed, Carltonaut

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