I have been known to turn around and double back in order to get that once in a lifetime shot of a road sign, flower, butterfly, etc. , so I know the temptation is there, especially when we are in a new place, excited to be there and see and experience all we can. Eager to take as many photographs as possible of new and unusual things, not knowing when, if ever, we may have a chance to return to this place…

Hence my word of caution from personal experience: Be Careful ! Do not get so caught up in the moment that you forget your personal safety. Please 🙂 , if you have to pull over, do so when it is safe, making sure to tuck your vehicle as far to the side and out of the flow of traffic as possible and necessary. If this means you’ll have to walk a little farther back, then so be it. Better to park in an official pull-off or a wide spot in the road, than to get dinged or worse. Those locals, familiar with the road in question, will go much faster than you expect. So keep this in mind, make sure you signal before you slow down and pull over, be prepared to get honked at occasionally, and find that safe spot. Lock your vehicle, just in case, make sure you have your key in hand when you do (nothing like being locked out of your vehicle outside of  OnStar’s reach, again speaking from experience, and from a mountaintop, LOL) , and look and listen both ways (!) before crossing the road.

Sometimes you may have to pass the location and go a couple of miles up the  road to hang a U-turn and double back. Again make sure it is safe to do so, leaving enough space to turn without having to block the road for any length of time, i. e.: a 3 point turn is wayyyy better than a 13 point turn, n’est-ce pas ?

If your desired photograph involves stepping off the beaten path and into nature, make sure it is safe to do so. Look around and be aware of loose rocks, slippery leaves or moss, snakes and other critters, keeping in mind also, that in certain areas (such as State Parks or Federal Lands) it may be against the law to leave the dedicated trail. Try to get your pic without killing yourself or getting a citation, will ‘ya please?

There may be a location that strikes your fancy in such a way that you risk life and limb to take that wonderful selfie or family portrait… I once watched a young couple tote their two small children up a narrow rocky trail ( and when I say rocky, I mean huge boulders) and across a mossy and moist rock shelf above a 20 foot drop and below an 80 foot drop of a most gorgeous waterfall. Meanwhile, as their family member got into position on dry land below, gearing up to take that perfect picture, I sat cringing and praying, that nothing terrible would happen to them. Quietly looking on and being pained by the danger and the nonchalant attitude. I’m not judging. I get it, it’s a free country and to each their own, but I would not have taken that risk. One misstep, a tiny slip, could have been fatal. Those rocks are very unforgiving, after all. Use your own best judgment.

Last but not least, on your quest for photographic success, kindly make sure you don’t block or inhibit other folks from enjoying the scenery. Look around, be situationally aware (as you should always be) and show courtesy to others. Communicate and take turns, if you have to.

That being said, if you see a woman of a certain age with long blonde hair and a smart phone by the side of the road or trail, taking pictures of God knows what, be sure to beep your horn, because that could be me! 🙂 . I would appreciate the shout-out.

xxoo cw


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