The Tao of Drive By Photography
Shooting photos from the car has a bad rap as the lazy photographer’s way of making pictures. In fact, I was even railed against once in a photography crtique forum for submitting a photo shot from the car.
“Get your lazy ass out of the car!”
“That isn’t even a half-decent shot.”
And more unhelpful comments. Ouch.
But the point was that I would not have even gotten the shot if I had been out of the car. It was an “in the moment” shot of a bicyclist intent on his journey – whizzing by my car- as I sat parked in a wilderness area. That shot would not have happened if I had already been meandering up the trail.
Syncing Your Drive By Shots with the Tao
So I give you Drive By Photography and why it is symc with the Tao:
The important principles of Taoism are inaction, simplicity, and being in harmony with nature.
By simply sitting there (inaction) and waiting for the subject to come to me, I created a simple photography hide, living in harmony in nature.
Contrast that with jumping out and crouching at a key spot where bicyclists may or may not appear, and/or setting up unnatural tripods with enormous amount of camera gear waiting for that perfect bicyclist photo.
The photo critics also had no way of knowing that I might have a disability hampering me from even getting out of the car. The photographer could be in a wheelchair or have another disability which doesn’t allow jumping from the car to crouch on the ground for the perfect shot. It may have been a hot day or a cold day. My iphone camera won’t even hardly work at all in over 110 F temperatures. Sometimes I stay in the car just to keep my camera cool. Incidentally, this isn’t just the iphone that does this. My Canon Rebel and Mark III also do not work properly in the heat. Unfortunately for me, over 100 F temperatures last from May until October in my hometown so I have to be able to deal with it if I want to do anything at all.
Taoism instructs that one adapt to whatever happens to him and accept his fate. Accept the reality and just get on with it.
Go with the flow. Make it work. I didn’t have the same reality as the young men in my photo forum. They saw photography from one vantage point. Unfortunately, they didn’t even offer honest critiques of how I could improve my photos by giving guidance on lighting, angles, or whatever but only to move my lazy butt. Needless to say, I dropped out of the forum after some time with no real insight on how I could improve.
The Three Virtues of Taoism
The Three Virtues of Taoism are love, simplicity, and humility. Love what you do and show compassion for others, Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t shoot photos in the heat or cold or rain. Shoot from your car! Show compassion for people who can’t get out of their car to capture shots.
Do things in moderation and be simple. Don’t give up if you can’t hike up rhe Andes with fifty pounds of gear. Go to your local park and sit in your car and capture shots of kids on roller skates zooming by on the sidewalk. Go home and create amazing iphone art with snapseed and brushstroke apps and procreate. Dreamy Andes photos are not better than a quick photo taken of a skateboarder at the local park. Comsider yourself a chronicler of local history.
The third virtue is humility. Be patient with yourself and others. Live life to the fullest. You may not be the greatest photographer. I sure wasn’t according to my photography forum! But get out there and make it happen anyway. Turn off comments on your photography blog. Just go do what you like to do. And work on improvement.
The Advantages of Drive By Photography
Advantages of Drive By Photography
- Being in the comfort of your car in an acclimated environment is a huge plus for me as our temperatures here can get up to 128 F. Camera gets neither too hot or too cold and neither does the photographer.
- Car is a shaded area to shoot from on bright sunny days.
- It is perfect for people who are wheelchair bound, disabled, or obese. There is no walking, heavy lifting, or dealing with the elements.
- Photographer doesn’t have to carry heavy equipment around. Equipment is right there at your fingertips.
- Your car becomes the perfect “photography hide.” Animals and people don’t notice the photographer.
- You can get weird artsy shots with reflections and windshield.
- Rain photos and lights with reflections can be stunning.
- Tripods can be set up on windows to capture scenic shots that couldn’t be walked up to anyway like Death Valley and along areas of the Colorado River.
- There is a certain degree of anonymity for the photographer when set up on the street. In my town, there is a weekly event on Main Street where people park their antique cars and walk the street. If you park early and wait, there are lots of opportunities to get great street photography shots without getting out of your car.
- You aren’t being exposed to other people during this pandemic is a huge advantage to me.
Take the Tao and create.