SOMEWHERE INCREDIBLE IN IDAHO
This week's excursion into my photo archives revealed two unexpected revelations about my photography. One was that I was perfectly capable of capturing standard horizontally-oriented landscape images, even though that is not my usual modus operandi. The other was that fine landscape images can be captured literally from the side of the road. I have utmost respect for my usual crew on You Tube who are "proper" landscape photographers, journeying to far-flung locations before dawn. These images all entailed a hike of less than a stroll from my car as I drove towards Wyoming more than 25 years ago. They prove, at least to yours truly, that sometimes just driving through epic landscapes is more than enough effort required to find a chance to create a fine landscape image. In fact the only thing you have to do is have enough energy to stop the car and stretch your legs.
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK, PERHAPS IN EASTERN OREGON
All of these images were stuck in my archives for all of this time, the victims of desultory one-hour photo processing. I had never considered them worthy of a second glance, and their continued existence as 4x6 prints is due more to my lack of organizational energy than archival rectitude. Less than an hour of scanning and post-processing rescued them from their obscurity. While there might not be any award winners here, they are not half-bad and certainly show off parts of the West that can lift your spirits right by the side of the road, even if you can't believe anyone ever built a road so far from civilization. What is interesting is that frequently the only sign of man is actually the road you are driving on; it is not dangerous to just stop, since you haven't seen another car for the last hour.
AGRICULTURAL LAND NEAR THE IDAHO WILDERNESS
The first few images show the road less traveled through Eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming on the way to the Grand Tetons. It was the first trip into the Outback since our original journey down our Oregon Trail to Portland a few years before. We looked forward to staying at a ski condominium this time instead of our little battered tent, but many days on the road were still required to get there. I think it is amazing that these views were just off the side of those roads.
SOMEONE OWNS THESE COWS, BUT THE RANCH MIGHT BE BIGGER THAN SOME STATES IN NEW ENGLAND
SOMEONE HAS A BEEF WITH TRUCKS, HILLS, OR JUST TRAFFIC SIGNS IN GENERAL?
Most of my post-processing was my standard workflow of increasing the contrast, sharpening the image, and checking the white balance. Frequently a judicious crop to emphasize the horizontal nature of "the road" improved the image way beyond its original form. Several of the images worked better in black and white.
GRAND TETONS PANORAMA; THAT RED BARN IS SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT
THE MAJESTY OF THE MOUNTAINS IS MATCHED BY THE SKIES
When we arrived at Grand Tetons National Park my forays only slightly off the road continued to achieve pretty epic views that challenged those scenes only available after hours of hiking. Sometimes the mere act of cropping away the road I was standing near was enough to elevate the image. Even the Jenny Lake reflection image was shot right off the parking lot.
JENNY LAKE RIGHT OFF THE ROAD
My message is that the pursuit of the landscape does not require superhuman effort. If you want to take wonderful images right off the side of the road, then the first thing to do is to try to find more interesting roads.
THIS STORM DID NOT LOOK AT ALL REALISTIC IN COLOR, BUT YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT'S ON THE WAY.