The quintessential road shot.  We’ve all seen them, and we’ve all tried to make them.  Photographers might spend years trying to properly pull one off.  For some reason we’re drawn to road shots like moths to the light.  We can’t help ourselves.  It might even be in our DNA.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

Olympus OM-4ti, 28mm F2 Zuiko  @F22  Fuji Velvia 100asa (yep, slide film)

 

 

The quintessential road shot.  We’ve all seen them, and we’ve all tried to make them.  Photographers might spend years trying to properly pull one off.  For some reason we’re drawn to road shots like moths to the light.  We can’t help ourselves.  It might even be in our DNA.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

 

There is no magic formula for the perfect road shot, but there is the one rule.  Capture the feeling of the road.  In other words, if it’s very hot and dry then the image should impart this feeling.  If the road is isolated, wet, or never ending, then your image must give the viewer these feelings. 

 

 

 

Color is often important, whether it be the yellow lines of the road, fall leaves, or the a subject with a sharp contrast to the rest of the frame.  Color can draw the eye right down the road.  Light cannot be underestimated.  Sometimes it’s used to cast shadows and present a mood, other times to give the feeling of heat or dryness, and sometimes the lack of light can show rain or other inclement weather.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM  @F8  1/80th  48mm  ISO 100

 

 

Color is often important, whether it be the yellow lines of the road, fall leaves, or the a subject with a sharp contrast to the rest of the frame.  Color can draw the eye right down the road.  Light cannot be underestimated.  Sometimes it’s used to cast shadows and present a mood, other times to give the feeling of heat or dryness, and sometimes the lack of light can show rain or other inclement weather.

 

Road shots are one type of shot where shooting them centered usually works best, or in some cases the road shot has a subject more meaningful than the road and the subject should be centered.   Texture should be considered.  Does the texture help define the other elements of the composition, an example would be does the soft dreamy look of the trees add to the lonely feeling of the road in the 2nd example, or what about the coarse texture of the asphalt in relation to the hot dryness of the 1st example?  There really is no such connection in the 3rd example and it’s weaker for the lack of.

 

 

 

The elements need to come together in a way which combine all the variables equally, a strong show of compositional strength.  You just can’t go stand out there on the road with your camera and expect to make a great road shot just for showing up.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM  @F5.6 1/200th  70mm  ISO 200

 

 

The elements need to come together in a way which combine all the variables equally, a strong show of compositional strength.  You just can’t go stand out there on the road with your camera and expect to make a great road shot just for showing up. 

 

It must be the right road, the right weather, the right exposure, every compositional element must segue into the next with a smoothness that feels like you’re breathing fresh mountain air while hitting each mogul with the perfect timing the slope demands.  Road shots can’t be forced, they must be earned.  Do you have what it takes?