Into the Archives // The Side of the Road, Newfoundland

Of the 4,500+ photos I took during my 10-day trip to Newfoundland back in 2014 (welcome to travelling with me) the shot below is one of my favourites. 

Did I get up early so I could capture the morning light filtering through the low-lying mist? Nope. Did I find the little rust-and-ochre hill in a guide book and hike in for days to stand in its presence? I did not. Did I compose, recompose, and recompose yet again until I had the composition just-so? Again, no, no, and no.

Instead, this little gem was snapped out the window of a moving vehicle as my parents and I rounded an unnamed bend somewhere in eastern Newfoundland. It is, quite literally, the side of the road. One, two, three frames later and – poof! – it was gone from view. 

Simpson-Newfoundland.jpg

Hasty though I make the whole thing sound, my success here wasn't due simply to chance or to some particular skill I possess as a passenger-seat photographer. In fact, it was that essential mix of both – a good dose of luck and a lot of practice and preparation. 

See, pretty much anytime I end up as a passenger on a road trip, I keep my camera close by and dial my settings to moving-vehicle (i.e., either a super-fast shutter speed to minimize blur or a super-slow one to create dreamy streaks of colour, a narrow aperture to get lots in focus, and whatever ISO is necessary to sufficiently expose the frame). I keep a few lenses accessible, so I can photograph both sweeping vistas and wildlife (a 24-70mm for the former, a 70-200mm for the latter), and I shoot often. And most of what I produce...quite honestly, it's pretty terrible. But every now and then, I get a winner! 

Some less impressive results, featuring rogue posts and trees, varying degrees of crookedness, blur, and a lot of nothing! 

Some less impressive results, featuring rogue posts and trees, varying degrees of crookedness, blur, and a lot of nothing! 

Long story short, if you can stomach sorting through a lot of duds, keep your camera nearby on any road trips you're taking this summer and take advantage of all that time in the passenger seat. Clean your car windows (unless you're after splotchy shots), experiment with your settings, keep a few lenses on hand, and snap away! 

Want more from the Into the Archives series? 

Instalment 5: Into the Archives // Glacier and the Power of Photography

Instalment 4: Into the Archives // Glacier in Blue

Instalment 3: Into the Archives // Mom on PEI

Instalment 2: Into the Archives // France on Film (The 'Oops' Edition)

Instalment 1: Into the Archives // A New Series of Old Photos