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View Full Version : You've got a few hours to shoot - how far will you drive for an outing?



Corran
8-Jul-2014, 08:10
Idle curiosity here...

Say you've taken a half-day off at work, or it's a casual Sunday and the weather is perfect - you feel like going out to shoot. The 4x5 is already packed, film already loaded. How far do you drive for an outing? With gas ~$3.50 at the moment (here, at least), a major drive can be quite expensive. So do you stick close to home? Or do you commit to driving to someplace 100 miles away?

DrTang
8-Jul-2014, 08:23
100 miles is 4 hours of just driving ..or so


so a lot less.. 25-35 miles..maybe, unless I have a perfect spot in mind

Brian C. Miller
8-Jul-2014, 08:27
I just finished up a photo trip this weekend, and I found out why people drive out and die in the desert: the gas station maps are bad, and you can get a bad case of, "oh, it should improve in a bit."

Anyways, it would really depend on what's around. If I am close to something were I can run out and photograph it, then fine, I'll do it. But I wouldn't do it for a random wander.

Also, a quick drive isn't expensive with a car that gets top fuel mileage.

Corran
8-Jul-2014, 08:30
Depends on what roads but 100 miles shouldn't be 4 hours unless you were going through residential areas the whole time...

I got to thinking about this because I went to a wildlife refuge that is about 85 miles away from me, one way, so 170 miles round trip. About $20 in gas just to go. I would love to go once or twice a week if it was right down the road because it's a huge swath of land with a lot of potential, but realistically I can't do that when it's almost 200 miles round-trip. Maybe once a month? I bought a year pass for $15 - still less than ONE trip in gas!!

I'm a bit sad because there is about 5 locations that I really want to explore but every one of them is 2 hours or so away. And Saturday I drove 2.5 hours out to the coast just for a sudden storm to blow in not predicted by the weather and ruin the whole trip!! Here in rural south GA there is not a lot of anything in huge swaths of territory so it kinda sucks sometimes.

jnantz
8-Jul-2014, 08:40
if you have someplace in mind id just go there,
if not ... plenty of things are close by but you have to notice them

DannL
8-Jul-2014, 09:24
I have never had any luck driving somewhere specifically to photograph. There's always something working against me. So instead, I take a camera everywhere I go.

tgtaylor
8-Jul-2014, 09:40
Once, not long ago, I got the urge to shoot Bodie in B&W with the 8x10 for alternative prints. Got up at 3am and drove straight to Bodie, ~ 225 miles one-way, spent the whole day shooting, and drove back arriving back home at around midnight. Was it worth it? YES!

BTW, I drive a small Toyota Echo which gets ~45MPG so it probably cost around $40 in fuel.

Thomas

Corran
8-Jul-2014, 09:44
I have to say that if I was roughly 200 miles away from Bodie or any number of the absolutely amazing and massive state/national parks in your part of the world, I wouldn't think twice about driving that far.

DrTang
8-Jul-2014, 10:38
Depends on what roads but 100 miles shouldn't be 4 hours unless you were going through residential areas the whole time...



I factor in getting lost and stopping at a 7-11

Iluvmyviewcam
8-Jul-2014, 10:46
I didn't vote, as I will drive a thousand+ miles.

3 weeks ago I drove 10 hours+ one way. It didn't work out. I got back in the truck after 45 min and drove back 10+ hours. About $400 in gas plus $45 for misc. Got nothing out of it, not one pix. Just how it goes, I still gota try. I did my research best I could, but that was how it worked out for me that day.

Vaughn
8-Jul-2014, 11:21
My favorite redwoods are 55 miles up the highway -- an hour away (and some nice ones 50 miles down the highway). Well worth the trip for a couple of exposures -- or just to walk around if the wind comes up or if the rain starts, etc. and not worth bringing out the camera.

Yosemite is 475 miles away -- so that is a multi-day adventure.

Randy Moe
8-Jul-2014, 11:59
I will travel 1 mile or 100 miles. Since I use a small motorcycle I carry, at different times, 2x3 Century, 4x5 HD Horseman or 5x7 Linhof. I only use city streets, Lake Michigan Circle Tour roads and county roads. I did a 500 mile RT last month. Pack light, very light. and I carry a P&S Digi in case I run out of film.

Never the Super Slab. My bike gets 70 to 90 mpg.

ic-racer
8-Jul-2014, 12:01
I used to do that, but then I realized the trees 100 miles away looked just like the ones outside the window I'm looking through now.

Jmarmck
8-Jul-2014, 12:09
When I was in Long Valley/Mammoth Lakes, almost every weekend was spend exploring. I has a small 4x4 pickup just suited to that kind of thing and BLM did not frown on off road excursions. Too bad I did not have LF at the time.

Today, I would drive several hours for something special.....or I though might be special. But often times the best shots are just a few steps out the door of the house. I live in the same area as Corran and fully understand the lack of access to public lands within reasonable distances.

This fall after the gnats die out, I want to make a two or three day Cumberland Island trip. There is the Chickasawhatchee WFP down the road. Never been.
But still if I had the time and cash, I would hit the road to the great American SW......and points east of the Sierra Nevada.

Corran
8-Jul-2014, 12:21
Cumberland Island trip.

One of the things I will do before I leave this area one day is a multi-day camping/photography trip to Cumberland.

Due south of you at the Gulf Coast is St. Marks Wildlife Reserve, which is where I was Sunday when I was thinking about this. If you are ever down that way definitely stop by, it's a nice bit of land. I need to get my bike fixed (blew a tire) because right now (especially with the heat) it's a long bit of trekking to get anywhere remote on foot.


70 to 90 mpg.

Nice. I wish. My Camry is about 30 mpg at best on the highway.
I will never, ever own a motorcycle, nor do I care to ride one. I would like one of those Smart Cars that get a couple hundred miles on a charge...I would jet down to the refuge twice a week for sure then. Of course gas costs less than a whole new car...

Leszek Vogt
8-Jul-2014, 12:36
Maybe not for everyone, but this is way too convoluted Q. Some places are close (10 mil) others require 200 r/t trip...and then there are those where I could take a bus (@ no cost to me) and go 1000's miles away. Sometimes the best outing is my buffer park under my nose. Can't put a number on it or figure out any stats.

Les

Emmanuel BIGLER
8-Jul-2014, 12:48
I voted for 100 miles round trip even if here in France gas is sold about USD 7.5 per US gallon. Diesel fuel is less expensive, though.
But since we pay by litres, not by 3.79 litres, it does not seem so expensive :cool:

A 100 miles round trip allows me go reach many spots for landscape and architecture nearby my home, and in winter this is the typical round trip for cross-country skiing in the Jura, but we usually do it for a whole day, not half a day.

Jim Noel
8-Jul-2014, 13:23
I'll drive 50+ miles any time I think I can find a good image. If my gas was$3.50 instead of $4.25 I'd likely drive farther.

John Kasaian
8-Jul-2014, 14:00
if you have someplace in mind id just go there,
if not ... plenty of things are close by but you have to notice them
This!
There are parks, old buildings, cemeteries, churches, riparian areas, canals, farms, industrial and railroad stuff scattered around most urban areas.

Corran
8-Jul-2014, 14:12
Not always.

Erik Larsen
8-Jul-2014, 17:11
I routinely take an afternoon and drive down to the Moab,canyonlands ,arches area when the weather looks like it might produce some exciting light. I won't get home till late this time of year as the sun sets so late. 200 mile round trip depending on the area I choose. There are certain photographs I have in mind that I have been trying to get for years but sometimes the sky I want and what nature gives me are different:) I'll keep trying as I enjoy the trip. Traffic is non existent so the drive is pleasurable. My 20 mpg doesn't bother me too much as I enjoy the drive and it's cheaper than a meal and a movie would set me back.

angusparker
8-Jul-2014, 20:17
Once, not long ago, I got the urge to shoot Bodie in B&W with the 8x10 for alternative prints. Got up at 3am and drove straight to Bodie, ~ 225 miles one-way, spent the whole day shooting, and drove back arriving back home at around midnight. Was it worth it? YES!

BTW, I drive a small Toyota Echo which gets ~45MPG so it probably cost around $40 in fuel.

Thomas

Been thinking of doing the same thing .....

munz6869
9-Jul-2014, 03:37
On Saturday, I drove from Melbourne to Meredith in country Victoria (Australia), to make one shot of a 1930's diesel-electric rail motor as it sped past the old (now a private home) bluestone station there. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I did nearly freeze to death, AND it was a 232km* round trip (longer really, because I detoured home via Geelong)...

In retrospect, I wish I had paused a fraction of a second longer before squeezing the shutter release, for better composition, but at least I got the exposure right.

*144 miles for our non-metric friends.

Marc!

Michael_4514
9-Jul-2014, 03:54
A routine hike in the Catskills is about 250 miles round trip, so that seems about right to me.

andreios
9-Jul-2014, 04:30
I commute 25 miles (40km) one way daily to work. During weekends I am usually too tired even of the idea of sitting behind the wheel. Therefore I am sticking close to home, going out on foot or only for a short drive, usually taking (some of) the kids with me... All the more interesting natural spots (e.g. mountainous areas) are 2+ hours drive, which after a week-long commuting is simply and sadly too much for a roundtrip..

Matsushime
9-Jul-2014, 07:27
I didn't vote, as I will drive a thousand+ miles.

3 weeks ago I drove 10 hours+ one way. It didn't work out. I got back in the truck after 45 min and drove back 10+ hours. About $400 in gas plus $45 for misc. Got nothing out of it, not one pix. Just how it goes, I still gota try. I did my research best I could, but that was how it worked out for me that day.

That is just absolutely insane!

tgtaylor
9-Jul-2014, 07:55
Been thinking of doing the same thing .....

Hi Angus,

If you're looking for company, count me in!

Thomas

Alan Curtis
9-Jul-2014, 08:10
My favorite redwoods are 55 miles up the highway -- an hour away (and some nice ones 50 miles down the highway). Well worth the trip for a couple of exposures -- or just to walk around if the wind comes up or if the rain starts, etc. and not worth bringing out the camera.
Vaughn
I'm going to be your area in a few weeks. Which of the redwoods do you find your favorites? I fully realize that all the good photographs have been captured but, I'm fully proficient at taking mediocre photographs.
Thanks
Alan

Kirk Gittings
9-Jul-2014, 08:18
I have been working on images for a show next year on the Bisti Wilderness. As I am extremely busy these days all I can carve out are day trips. The Bisti is some 258 miles from my house. I tend to target specific images that I think will work, but don't hold myself to that if other opportunities arise or the light is different than i expected. Sometimes I never even get the camera out and sometimes I wish I had a time stretcher. That's an App right?

John Kasaian
9-Jul-2014, 10:53
When I had a job I'd commute 40 miles each way to work (for about 18 years!) through some pretty boring countryside & industrial slums. But upon closer examination it was loaded with opportunities that changed with the seasons (alas, I don't think we're quite zoned for seasons here in the San Joaquin Valley) All needed was the time to stop and shoot (which I never seemed to have!)

TXFZ1
9-Jul-2014, 10:57
Until I get to the intersection of good light and interesting subject!

David

Corran
9-Jul-2014, 10:58
I feel lucky to live literally 2 miles from where I work, but it does diminish the opportunity to see things on the trip.
On the other hand I commuted from the suburbs of Atlanta to downtown (42 miles one way) to a job for 4 summers. That was terrible.

Whenever I have a gig or reason to drive many miles away, yes I always brought the camera(s) and shot as much as possible before/after.

Steve Smith
9-Jul-2014, 11:22
Also, a quick drive isn't expensive with a car that gets top fuel mileage.

And note that US fuel is a lot cheaper than most of the rest of the world. Almost half the UK cost.

I won't drive very far but I will walk quite a few miles. Also, I live on an island 26 miles wide so after a while I have to either swim or get on a boat!


Steve.

jp
9-Jul-2014, 12:20
Part of what America collectively celebrated and relished since the 1950s has been the mobility (vehicles+highways+consumables) to conveniently drive substantial distances that were previously inconvenient or impossible. If you can put that to use for photography and have fun doing it great. I drive 7 hours (1-way) once a year to limerock park in CT to combine my interest in motorsports and photography. The vintage event is a heady and intimate experience compared to most motorsports spectating/photography.

Normally though, 90+% of the time, my outings are close to home. It's so much like Eliot Porter's summer island, his books made me homesick once. Thoreau found the majority of his inspiration within walking distance (though he did travel some), Porter was stuck on a little tiny island for the summer, Artists seek Monhegan (and other local places) out for the sake of solitude and being stuck in one place long enough to understand it to some extent. Staying close to home, I don't feel like I'm running out of places to photograph, but rather incrementally improving my photo abilities at the places I visit regularly.

John Jarosz
9-Jul-2014, 17:06
I'm resigned to my photography being done by car, there really is no other option. ULF or 8x10 is not airplane friendly, even 4x5 requires one to submit to all kinds of compromises. So a longer drive is what is required to do my photography. Beefing about it is ridiculous, it's the way our world works and there is no second choice (of a world).

I used to take 4x5 on airplanes, it was real simple. Now the people that govern airports don't even know that a 4x5 camera is a camera. We won't talk about film.

Gas is cheap, even my time is cheap compared to the potential rise in my blood pressure if I were to fly.

The secret is to accept the situation. Like somebody said - 'the trees 400 miles away look very similar to the trees outside my window'. I did move to a more photogenic part of the world. That has worked wonders for my health as well.

Now if there was a cheap(er) more reliable film source I would be really happy.

BrianShaw
9-Jul-2014, 17:15
The price of gas is the least of my worries. Not really but there are much greater worries - like figuring out how to get that half day off of work. Nice thought but not easy to do.

Jmarmck
9-Jul-2014, 18:01
Today, my boss told me to start occasionally taking a day or two off to go around the region and photograph agriculture and water themed subjects. I am pretty sure he did not mean LF as he is looking for a library of images for papers, proposals and what not. I intend to take him up on it but take the 4x5 anyway. Start thinking children of the corn kind of images..............or cotton bolls, palmetto plants, cypress knees, etc. Cotton, corn, peanuts and all the entrapments that go with them. Maybe the occasional barn and falling down sheds.

Kirk Gittings
9-Jul-2014, 21:40
Until I get to the intersection of good light and interesting subject!

David

:)

BrianShaw
10-Jul-2014, 06:42
Today, my boss told me to start occasionally taking a day or two off to go around the region and photograph agriculture and water themed subjects. I am pretty sure he did not mean LF as he is looking for a library of images for papers, proposals and what not. I intend to take him up on it but take the 4x5 anyway. Start thinking children of the corn kind of images..............or cotton bolls, palmetto plants, cypress knees, etc. Cotton, corn, peanuts and all the entrapments that go with them. Maybe the occasional barn and falling down sheds.

What a great opportunity. I wouldn't be thinking about this offer, I'd be doing it before the boss changes his/her mind!

BrianShaw
10-Jul-2014, 06:47
p.s. If I were in your shoes and your locale I'd be hunting down a location I once saw about 20 years ago. On some small farm road between Bainbridge and Camilla was farmland (pecan, I think) but what I really remember is the large number of dead swine on the road in the morning. They were all over the place, and all seem to have had encounters with big trucks. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera at the time and all I have are those weird (but true) memories.

Jmarmck
10-Jul-2014, 09:30
Yes, there is very large wild hog problem here, all over the state in fact, even in Atlanta. The hogs run in packs so I can see that happening. I live north of Camilla on that same route, 19 I think. People here hit hogs all the time, as well as deer. I have field mappers here that have tagged three deer this year alone.

There was a photo taken on the edge of the road. The main subject was a smashed armadillo that had been painted with the yellow stripe by the paint truck. I always liked that photo. It has many stories to tell.

BrianShaw
10-Jul-2014, 09:58
Ha... north of Camilla. One of the nicest weeks of my life was spent in Smithville. One of the longest days of my life was when we "went into the big city" and I spent a few hours in Albany. I'm not sure how to characterize Leesburg other than to say I was there too. I've only been to SoGA a couple of times and never to photograph. I hope to do that some day. I find SoGA to be very photogenic!

Corran
10-Jul-2014, 10:01
You can take it. I will gladly swap places.
I think living here 10 years will change your perspective!

Jmarmck
10-Jul-2014, 10:51
Yes, it will do so very much....on may fronts. I too have been here coming on 10 years. I am just south of Albany between bedroom communities. I have the river as a neighbor. I will say that things have changed. Leesburg is now a thriving bedroom community while Albany is drying up like fruit on the vine. Downtown is almost like a mini Detroit. Still, you are right, it is all about finding a worthy subject. I hold no large fondness for Ag but hey if it gets me out of the office with a camera in my hand, it is a good thing.

Corran
10-Jul-2014, 11:04
Marty, did you see the report in recent days that reported on % population loss? Valdosta is #1 in the nation for dropping population (a loss of ~2%) with Albany not far behind (~1.4%). I went downtown here a few weeks ago and the rest of the shops, save for just a couple of restaurants, closed down. On average I see maybe 5-6 people on the street on a typical "First Friday," around sunset.

djdister
10-Jul-2014, 11:15
There's a few problems with the original question(s) posed in this thread. The title says "a few hours" which would imply maybe 3 hours to go somewhere, shoot, and return. The original post says taking a half day off of work, which could mean a total of 4 hours time to drive, shoot, and return. And then there's the second part of the thread title, which is how far will you drive for an outing? That is a very open ended question, which most people have tried to address. The "how far would you drive" thing also loses steam when one has to consider whether it is mid-Winter or mid-Summer. So, if you only have "a few hours" there is no way to drive 250 miles, shoot and then get back home. What am I missing? Just being literal I guess...

Corran
10-Jul-2014, 11:34
I didn't intend to limit the time to a discrete amount, though I would say an "outing" of 1000 miles is more of a "trip!"
Just wanted to see what people think/do. It's been interesting reading. Don't read too much into my original post. :)

djdister
10-Jul-2014, 12:57
Okay, so the way I see it, if I had one day (all day) to shoot, I might drive up to 200 miles. If I had an entire weekend, I might drive up to 300 - 400 miles. If I had a week to shoot, I might (and have) driven about 500-1,000 miles away from home.

Kodachrome25
13-Jul-2014, 08:25
I love to travel but don't have to.

16 years ago I relocated my job position of the best job on earth, a photographer, to an utterly spectacular setting with an insatiable appetite for the arts and great photographs...

Best..
Decision...
Ever....

Toyon
13-Jul-2014, 08:54
The most stirring photographers, in my opinion, are those that make mundane subjects interesting and "big". Check out the work of Stephen Shore, Helen Levitt or William Eggleston. Great subjects are in almost every neighborhood, you just have to think like a racoon. Racoons are omnivorous and curious, they investigate everything high and low.

John Kasaian
16-Jul-2014, 07:46
It depends.
I keep a mental list of locations I want to shoot at so if I have the time, fuel, & film, I'll go. I think the longest distance I've travelled to shoot on a day trip is over 200 miles, but I've made far more shorter trips of 10 miles or less. Whatever fits into my schedule. Subject matter has a lot to do with it as well as some subjects, like crop harvests, are time sensitive. From my home, Point Lobos, Morro Bay, the Gold Rush district, and Yosemite are pretty easy day trips if traffic is light.

Brassai
16-Jul-2014, 20:30
I live on the Northern Plains where the MacDonalds restaurants can be 70+ miiles apart. I think nothing of driving 250 miles on a day off. It helps that you can drive 80 mph on the interstates, if they aren't snow packed.