Carolyn’s Online Magazine
PHOTOGRAPHY FROM A MOVING VEHICLE
Using a Camera (or Cell Phone) in a Moving Vehicle
(there is a) danger involved with shooting
while driving (akin to texting while driving IMO.
According to the August 23, 2015, WordPress prompt, Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.”
The prompt went on to ask What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you? Although I intuit that the question meant book, it didn’t specify book—it only stated the last thing you read. Since I’ve not read anything recently in a book that stung me I decided to discuss a FaceBook prompt that I recently received.
My husband Monte and I travel a major local road frequently. He usually drives, I’m a passenger. Usually during our drives, sometimes 65 m.p.h., I take photographs of interesting scenes or objects.
Through the summer months I’ve been attempting to photograph a roadside memorial we pass. It’s located around a sharp curve, and it comes up quickly. I need to have the camera ready and hopefully in focus. Usually Monte is driving in fast traffic, adding another layer of challenge of photographing from a moving vehicle.
After many attempts I finally shot a somewhat acceptable picture, although it is not quite in focus.
I posted my best shot on FaceBook.
The posted photo elicited a discussion that included a statement about the danger involved with shooting while driving (akin to texting while driving IMO.
This stung. How could anyone reasonably imagine that I’d take pictures along the road while driving a vehicle?
I’m strictly opposed to texting and other distracting activities done while driving, which is and can be very dangerous due to road hazards, deer, other driver’s idiotic behavior. Why, then, would I try taking a picture of anything around a sharp curve, in fast moving traffic, while I’m driving? A very inaccurate assumption was made by the commenter.
I continually see drivers speeding along the road with a cell phone on their ear, akin to taking photos while driving along the road. By the way, how many drivers take pictures on their cell phones while driving? (I don’t use my antiquated cell phone to photograph anything, much less scenes along the road. Would I be more tempted to do so if I did shoot with a cell phone?)
It is VERY inconsiderate, personally, for a driver to talk on a cell phone—or to shoot pictures while driving.
It is also VERY inconsiderate of drivers to put others at life’s risk by doing these activities. In March 2014 USA Today reported:
- The National Safety Council’s annual injury and fatality report, “Injury Facts,” found that the use of cellphones causes 26% of the nation’s car accidents, a modest increase from the previous year. The 2014 edition of the report compares data from 2013 and earlier.
- Only 5% of cellphone-related crashes occur because the driver is texting. The majority of the accidents involve drivers distracted while talking on handheld or hands-free cellphones.
I responded to the comment: First, I wasn’t driving—I was a passenger. I DO NOT take photos while driving.
And I immediately followed with another comment:
FYI: Many of the photos I’ve showcased on this site were taken while our car was driving down the road, sometimes at 65 mph—note the cemetery stones at Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown, and St. Vincent College with the wires across the basilica. I trust others do not believe I’m doing this while driving.
And received the follow response: I’m so glad to hear that! I wouldn’t want you to get injured just to capture a moment.
Not long after I was asked about the following cemetery photo:
I responded: Yes. It was moving slowly through the cemetery because Monte and I were wondering what those stones in the distance were, so we drove by. We’d attended a memorial service there, the first time in this cemetery.
The discussion is over, is ended, leaving me to wonder if others who view photos I say are taken while in a car speeding down the road think I am combining driving and photography.
We are all endangered by those who smoke, text, talk on cell phones, and do various other distracting activities while driving. Do they not consider the safety of others who share the road? Do they not consider the motherless, or fatherless, children when an accident results from their behavior?
They will when they are a victim of a driver using a cell phone while driving.
Below are several other photos I took the same day I took the road memorial picture:
Passenger photography from a moving vehicle is a challenge. Focus, speed, alertness to a subject you see only a second or so, are all extra layers added to photography skills. You’ll find that you are deleting many photos, and that many possible photos will be passed by.
It helps to have a subject: old barns, flags, rainbow colored cars.
This activity is a distraction for those persons, like myself, who do not like being in a moving car. LIke other distasteful things in life, distractions are very helpful. I enjoy traveling slightly more as I gather interesting photographs along the way.