Middle of The Road

Inside the Photo

I’ve been intrigued by road photos for a while, literally shots of the road itself. A few months before, I was walking a Vermont country road with my friend Barbara and got the idea for a series of what I call “Belly on the Road” photos.

That is the idea literally, you must be laid out on a road, belly pressed against it, and capture the sweep of its curve or its stretch to the horizon.

Of course you have to pick your road carefully, for more than its photographic charm. That’s the adrenaline moment.

On this day I was driving west on Highway 60 across north west New Mexico, heading form Socorro towards Springerville, Arizona (and beyond to home). This road is one of those magical western ones that appeal to me so much more than the Interstates, both for its closer proximity and actually passing through interesting towns (like Magdalena, where I had stopped for gas, definitely a funky place). The interstate bypasses towns on purposes, the highways I like dissect them.

The best part of these roads is the lack of traffic. I’d go 30 minutes without seeing any other vehicle in any direction.

This spot I had stopped to take another photo, but the light was fantastic, and I got as low on the road as I have ever done, armed with an open aperture (f/3.5) so blut our the background. The cropping was deliberate to just catch my truck (I likely did this in post, but had frmaed it with this mind, the blurred truck and road sign, and the toad disappearing off to the horizon, and a sliver of the mountains and sky above the road. I wanted to capture half of the dashed road stripe, and picked a focus point not right at the leading edge, but a big back. A bigger (lower numbered ) aperture would have been too narrow; if doing again, I might have tried a few combinations, but this one worked perfectly.

Sometimes, you just have to get down on the ground. And look.

Photo Metadata

  • Caption: US 60 West of Magdalena, New Mexico
  • When: Nov 29, 2012 03:41:49 pm
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • Shutter Speed: 1/2500sec
  • Rights : cc licensed ( BY-SA ) photo by Alan Levine