Don’t you just hate passing by beautiful landscapes and not being able to stop to take that picture? Happens to me all the time, but all is not lost. In this post I’ll show you some of my examples of shooting from a car window. The results may surprise you.
Bliss – the windows wallpaper story
I’m currently in Portugal. On my way back from the Algarve towards Lisbon is a rural region known as Alentejo. Quite peculiar landscape in rolling hills and oak trees…a bit like Tuscany but drier and less inhabitated. Very picturesque and a landscape photographer’s dream.
I had a bit of a flashback to the famous windows wallpaper, Bliss, which has earned the photographer, a few million (here’s the story behind it):
“In 1998, photographer Charles “Chuck” O’Rear was driving from Sonoma County through Napa on his way to Marin County. His mission was to meet Daphne, the woman who eventually became his wife. In January, as most California natives know, the rains come, and the hills explode into green for a few months before the withering summer heat browns them once again.
O’Rear, a 25-year veteran of National Geographic, drove down the road, then pulled over. That stretch of Highway 12 is narrow and windy, with only a slender shoulder for stopping one’s car. At the bottom of a steep embankment is a barbed-wire fence. And in 1998, when O’Rear took his famous “Bliss” photo, all he could see was an emerald-green hill, a ridge behind it, and a few puffy clouds.
“I got out, took a couple of pictures, and kept on going,” he told PCWorld in an interview on Monday. “And the rest is history.”
Some beautiful sites along the way but unfortunately with no option to stop, so the next best thing was shooting from the window.
I’m a big fan of minimalism in photography and the the oak trees with the barren landscape were really interesting / dramatic.
I have to admit that I must have shot about 30 shots to get a decent one, but hell was it worth it. Here’s what it looks like unprocessed, with the settings on the top right:
Some glare on from the car window as you can see in the sky (I should have put it down), which is too bad. Anyway, I liked more the landscape than clouds as you’ll see. One is better than two and I decided to deforest the landscape but one oak tree:
I really like this shot and took my time caption and keyword it to the best I could. I usually do a good job but for images which I feel are special, I will aim for excellence, which means doing research:
Caption: Minimalist panorama of a rolling hilly plowed field with solitary suber cork oak tree, Quercus Suber, captured at Portugal’s Alentejo region
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Opportunities are limitless
I’m constantly thinking about concepts and using unconventional opportunities to create something unique. It’s a bit like that dude in Limitless where he makes connections where there are apparently none. Except I don’t have that pill…do you?
Road Trip Concepts
Anyway, I see the winding highway in a desert-type landscape with the GPS on the dashboard and I think of a road-trip concept. Probably done to death but then again I’m there stuck in a car for 3 hours, so why not I’ll take a few shots and see what happens.
Here’s two unprocessed images (to be honest, I haven’t got around to processing them as still have a huge backlog). I’m not sure some agencies will accept the GPS one that is in focus due to trademark issues but I’ll still try. Worst case, I’ll submit as editorial.
Really enjoying putting together timelapses. I’ve found a nice time/calculation that works for me which is an interval of every 2 seconds, 13 minutes to create a 15 second exposure. I find standing around for longer than that may not be a great use of my time, especially when the light is special.
Here’s one I captured yesterday in Cascais:
Now, let’s hope they’ll sell. As for footage sales, I had two at Colourbox for a pathetic 20cents each, can you believe it? Ffs…I tap out with them, no more!
I’ll be in Portugal for another week than driving across Spain and into the south of France over the course of 5 days. I’ll have loads of shots from outside of my window, no doubt haha. Hopefully some in terra firma.
As for shooting out of the window, give it a go!
I’m an eccentric guy on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images. I’m determined not to waste my life away as a corporate drone and have devoted five years to making it as a travel photographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others before it’s too late.
I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography
Check out my new photo review service, where I’ll help take your images to the next level and get them sold regularly!