Are You Watching Airplanes?

Surveying Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Korean Air cargo jet flying over.

Airports, in general, are pretty good places to get a photograph. There are lots of people, beautiful airplanes, open spaces, workers, interesting lighting – just a great environment for snapping a great picture. (Listen to the song title that inspired this category to get you ready to get the shot: Watching Airplanes by Gary Allan.)

Have one you think could win? Enter today to be in the running for a prize!

Even if you don’t win, you still got that day at the airport…

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, All the Livelong… OK, We’ll Stop.

All aboard the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad! Volunteer conductor, John Cavanaugh, is ready to board passengers for an afternoon tourist excursion along the St. Louis River basin in Duluth, Minnesota. The historic train operates weekends throughout the summer with an all-volunteer crew.

Now that we’ve got that song stuck in your head, think about this: photos and video of all things rail-related including subways and mass transit! We want to see people not only working on the rails but those folks using transit, too.

Of course, we can’t stress enough, if you’re going to take shots of railroads to BE SAFE – here are some safety tips and facts to review before you go out shooting from Operation Lifesaver.

To get you in the mood (and get that earworm out of your head!), take a listen to The Subway Song by The Icarus Account.

A Sailor’s Life for Me!

Icebergs being investigated from the safety of the Fast Rescue Boat deployed from the M/V Taku.

Well, perhaps being a photographer is enough. And getting that perfect shot of people working on ships, boats, ferries and at waterfront facilities is an ideal Spring activity. The breeze off the water, the sun, the sounds of gulls and sandpipers… what a beautiful way to spend a day!

Here’s some good advice on taking shots on the water and the tips and tricks that will make your trip worthwhile. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)

Well, Yes, There Are Rules

Shannon McIntyre, MnDOT transportation generalist, looks ahead as she drives a Caterpillar compactor over hot asphalt on the edge line along Interstate 35 near Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota.

It wouldn’t be a competition if there weren’t rules, right? We have a few – though we’ve tried to minimize them as much as possible to make your entries easier.

A couple of the big ones:

  1. Get a model release. This is important since nobody wants to sue or get sued for unauthorized use of their likeness. If you know the person you’re photographing, even if it’s a close friend or family member, get them to sign on the dotted line. If you don’t know them, take the opportunity to chat and sign!
  2. Give us a caption. Let us know what we’re looking at! A great photo needs context and it helps tell the story of what you were seeing through your camera lens.

Follow these rules and you’ll have a winning photo (not guaranteed to win, but you know what we mean)!

Did You Go Orange?

Contractors at work with the rebar on a replacement bridge along Highway 31 in South Central North Dakota near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Yesterday was Go Orange Day in state DOTs around the country to honor National Work Zone Awareness Week. People were posting pics of themselves wearing the color everywhere!

We gotta say there were a lot of really great photos! Did you take one? Have you thought about entering it? If not, don’t worry: there will be plenty of chances to capture the men and women working on our transportation network before the deadline.

In the meanwhile, check out this little article we wrote a couple of years ago about the color orange and how to make it work to your advantage…

Spring Is Here!

The Fortify construction project is part of a 10-year plan to strengthen North Carolina’s roadways and alleviate traffic congestion in the Triangle. The southern portion of I-40/I-440 is 30 years old and needs repair. This photo, taken on a bitterly cold February night, depicts the dedicated workers on that project.

And that means more opportunities to get out and take some awesome photos. When you finally get all your gear together (or not: remember we’re taking social media entries as well!), keep an eye out for people using, building, and/or enjoying this country’s transportation infrastructure.

You never know what you might find!

Photo Entries for 2018 Contest Now Accepted Via Social Media!

That’s right. We’re now accepting entries for this year’s photo contest from social media. That means you can submit a photo via Facebook (AASHTOspeaks), Twitter (aashtospeaks), and Instagram (aashtospeaks). (Can you tell what our handle is?)

If you do send us a photo via these platforms, we will need a couple of pieces of information from you beyond that, including a model release for the identifiable people in your picture. You can find that form in the menu above. (It can either be part of a simple entry through the button above, or can be sent to directly…)

This is our first year accepting entries via social media, so let us know how we’re doing!