Need a Little Inspiration to Get That Transportation Photo? Here It Is.

An unknown worker cuts through re-enforcing rebar in the concrete rubble of a demolished bridge on State Route Four in Antioch Ca. The bridge was demolished to make room for the widening of the Highway and the addition of a light rail system.

An unknown worker cuts through re-enforcing rebar in the concrete rubble of a demolished bridge on State Route Four in Antioch Ca. The bridge was demolished to make room for the widening of the Highway and the addition of a light rail system.

Oftentimes, we give you a tidbit here and there to get you in the mood to get the perfect transportation photo or video, encouraging you to make it and submit it – and be done with it.

But there is a whole world of transportation (and travel) photography that we hope we’re inspiring you to explore, above and beyond our little contest.

Here’s an inspiring post by Joel Bankhead that captures everything we try (and frequently fail) to say about that quest. Read and enjoy!

Did He Need a Model Release?

boulevardYou’ve probably seen it: the iconic photograph Louis Daguerre (the inventor of the daguerreotype) took of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris in 1838.

Because the exposure took about 10 minutes to make, all the moving objects in the frame don’t appear – carriages, pedestrians, horses, etc. are invisible as they moved too fast for the slow exposure to capture them. (Ghost transportation!)

But one gentleman, getting his shoes shined, managed to stay relatively still for long enough to appear as a slightly blurred figure in the lower left of the frame.

Hard to imagine with the cameras we now take for granted. Hard to imagine now that we carry around such sophisticated cameras in our pockets (attached to our phones!), that can capture amazing detail, quick action, and brilliant color.

Something to think about next time you’re out lamenting that the light is just not right…

It’s Summer: Take Care of Your Gear and It Might Win You a Prize in Faces of Transportation!

DOT maintenance worker Keith Monette spreads soil around a repaired pipe on SR 3 Connector at SR 120 in Cobb County. The damaged pipe caused a sinkhole at the entrance to a local business. The temperature on this day is near 90 degrees.

DOT maintenance worker Keith Monette spreads soil around a repaired pipe on SR 3 Connector at SR 120 in Cobb County. The damaged pipe caused a sinkhole at the entrance to a local business. The temperature on this day is near 90 degrees.

Maybe you’re a seasoned photographer, with years of experience under your belt, working in all sorts of conditions. Maybe you’ve been working outside all of your professional life, taking photos in good weather and bad, cold and hot, wet and dry. And you always get the shot!

Or, maybe you’re like us: we sometimes don’t do the right thing every time, and treat our photo gear… well, not in the best way. Sometimes, in our excitement to get the best photograph EVER, we don’t do what we should with our camera (keep it clean, dry, and safe.)

Even the most prepared photographer has those days when things outside are working against her, and everything doesn’t go as planned.

Don’t worry! There’s lots of advice for you to consider before you even put the camera in the bag, and strap on the tripod. Take this great article by the folks at PetaPixel, for example. Or this one excerpted from Outdoor Action and Adventure Photography by Dan Bailey.

Read up before you suit up! And bring back that prize-winning shot!

Why Transportation? And Why *Faces* of Transportation?

AR-001n_galWe often get asked, “Why is transportation so important?” Usually followed, in the case of the Faces of Transportation photo/video contest, “Why focus on people?”

We’re transportation geeks, so there are a million answers involving engineering, design, traffic, capacity, sustainability, mobility, and all kinds of other in-the-weeds words we could use to answer the first question. And there are just as many answers to what we’re looking for in a good photograph or video of people in or using transportation.

But, what it really comes down to is this: America’s transportation network touches all of our lives every day. We use it to get to work and school by train, car, bus, and bike; we use it to get milk and eggs and all the other products we buy to the store by truck; we use it to get patients, and the vital medicines they need to hospitals; we use it to see this great country of ours in all of its majesty. The infrastructure we’ve built of roads, bridges, tunnels, tracks, paths, and sidewalks, binds us together in ways visible and invisible.

And that’s just the concrete, steel, and asphalt part.

The other, vital, fleeting part is the people who make, keep, and use that physical piece. You and your family, you and your colleagues at work, you and all the people who get out there everyday.

That’s why we sponsor this competition each year and have for 11 years. And that’s why it’s so important for us. We want to see YOU out there!

Photographing People Outdoors – Transportation Doesn’t Happen in a Studio!

Photographer Sholeh Moll of the Nevada Department of Transportation photographs semi-trucks and other traffic related images from the passenger seat of a state car while on a trip through rural Nevada.

Photographer Sholeh Moll of the Nevada Department of Transportation photographs semi-trucks and other traffic related images from the passenger seat of a state car while on a trip through rural Nevada.

Let’s face it: good photographs of people using our nation’s transportation systems just don’t occur in a studio. They’re composed outdoors, on the fly. But, with some preparation, a good eye, and a little luck, you’ve got that winning photo in hand!

Here are a few tips from a Graphics.com article, which, while a little dated (did they really have SLRs in 2008?!), are still relevant today.

We’re looking forward to your entry!

Transportation Photography Outdoors – Because It’s Gonna Happen

Bicyclists travel the well-worn U.S. 50 near Moundhouse, Nevada. The Nevada Department of Transportation is currently giving the northwestern Nevada road a facelift by repaving and making safety improvements.

Bicyclists travel the well-worn U.S. 50 near Moundhouse, Nevada. The Nevada Department of Transportation is currently giving the northwestern Nevada road a facelift by repaving and making safety improvements.

It is inevitable. To get that perfect transportation photo (with people in it!), you’re going to have to work outdoors.

We won’t go into all the gear and accessories you might want to have with you… let’s not get too fussy! You just want to get the shot, that one great shot. But, you’re going to have to work in the landscape and location in which you find yourself.

And that means taking into account some principles of good outdoor photography, and, in particular, of landscape photography.

Head on over to Digital Camera World and check out some of their tips on good landscape techniques.

And don’t forget the rain gear!