Taking Photos of People in Natural Light

Herbert Brown checks the air filter on a tractor during a vehicle inspection before going out to trim vegetation along the highways in Colleton County, South Carolina. Brown is the vegetation foreman for the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s Colleton Maintenance Office.

Herbert Brown checks the air filter on a tractor during a vehicle inspection before going out to trim vegetation along the highways in Colleton County, South Carolina. Brown is the vegetation foreman for the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s Colleton Maintenance Office.

Let’s face it: most of the transportation photos you’re going to take involve natural light – that is, you’re going to take a picture of someone outside, working, wearing bright colors, in variable conditions.

So, how do you prepare for that?

First, take a read of this post at an excellent photography blog, Phoblographer. (Probably not practical to take an reflective umbrella to an active construction site… but the other tips are worth taking note of.)

Second, be aware of the light and how it is going to affect your subject. Again, Phoblographer gives some tips on backlighting, and metering, which are essential.

Lastly, (and this almost goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway), keep your equipment in tip-top condition. It will pay you back a thousandfold with great pictures and an easy shoot.

So, get out there and take some great pictures of faces of transportation!

2014 Categories: Historic Projects

You’ve probably noticed that this year’s categories are a little different. We thought it might be a good idea to give you some more information about the categories and how you might turn them into actual photographs.

ks2014 is AASHTO’s 100th year, and to celebrate and honor a century of transportation in this country, we’re asking you to send us a picture of a historic or noteworthy project that was built in your community.

Now, it doesn’t have to be an actual historic photo (like the one in this post), but can be a simple shot of a bridge that’s been in your area for a long time; a refurbished brick-paved street that is in a historic district; a trolley or tram system still taking people to work and school; or maybe it’s a portrait of someone in your city who is retired, and who worked on a project or for the DOT…

To learn more about AASHTO’s Centennial celebration, visit our site. And get that photo!

2014 Categories: Quality of Life/Community Development

You’ve probably noticed that this year’s categories are a little different. We thought it might be a good idea to give you some more information about the categories and how you might turn them into actual photographs.

A walking path alongside the Cape Cod canal.

A walking path alongside the Cape Cod canal.

First up, Quality of Life/Community Development.

This seems to be a difficult, abstract concept that could be difficult to capture in a single image. After all, how do you take a picture of something as vague as quality of life? How do you photograph something that represents the development of a large thing like a whole community? And how do you include a FACE in all of that??

But, think about it for a minute or two and it becomes clearer and maybe even a little bit easier to envision putting those ideas into a visual medium.

We all see quality of life all around us every day. Sometimes, we may take it for granted or get so caught up in our busy lives that we ignore it. The bike path that makes it easier for neighborhood kids to get to school safely. The pedestrian bridge that allows walkers to cross over a rail line. The widened main street that makes shopping trips more efficient. The bus line that takes seniors to doctors’ appointments and the movies. Take a moment to look for these kinds of projects in your area, and especially the people that use them. Talk to them and snap that image!

Community development is a related idea that might be staring you in the face, waiting for you to take a photo: the new, brightly-lit sidewalk that makes a neighborhood safer for everyone; the improved intersection with new lights and crosswalks that allows people to get to shops and businesses; the transit line that brings new customers to the local grocery store.

You get the idea. So go out and get the picture!

People’s Choice Voting Now Closed

Bob Dion is a seasoned electrician who takes pride in the fact that the work he does will impact the community. This photo, taken at the Pawtucket River Bridge Replacement Project in Pawtucket, RI, reflects his positive commitment to the project and the State as a whole.

Bob Dion is a seasoned electrician who takes pride in the fact that the work he does will impact the community. This photo, taken at the Pawtucket River Bridge Replacement Project in Pawtucket, RI, reflects his positive commitment to the project and the State as a whole.

Thank you to everyone who took a few moments to browse the spectacular pictures that were submitted for this year’s contest. We had a very lively voting session!

Stay tuned – all the winners will be announced on Thursday, September 26, 2013!

All Entries In! Now the Judging Begins…

Thanks to everyone who entered AASHTO’s 2013 Faces of Transportation Contest. All qualified entries have been received – and we received some great ones this year!

Currently, our judge is in the process of reviewing all of the submitted photos and selecting the winners in each category. We are also preparing the photos for posting here for the People’s Choice voting, so watch this space for that to begin shortly!

Deadline Extended!

John C. Allen, chair of the Vehicle Probe Project Suite User Group, displays a Congestion Scan, one of the many data visualization tools developed by the University of Maryland's CATT Lab, which are used to facilitate improved transportation planning and operations. The Suite Dashboard is pictured in the background.

John C. Allen, chair of the Vehicle Probe Project Suite User Group, displays a Congestion Scan, one of the many data visualization tools developed by the University of Maryland’s CATT Lab, which are used to facilitate improved transportation planning and operations. The Suite Dashboard is pictured in the background.

In order to allow you an extra week to get your best transportation shot, we have extended the deadline for submittals to AUGUST 7, 2013!

Please be sure to fill out the entry form, caption, and, if appropriate, the model release form before sending in your photo.

Looking forward to your entry!