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Question about stopping by the roadside to photograph

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by veereshai, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    777
    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    I am planning to do a fair bit of travel by road over the next few months and I am not really sure if it's okay to stop by the roadside to take photos? Not necessarily on the highways but on smaller roads in the country side. I wouldn't want to be in a situation where I break the law unknowingly and get fined for it. Any help/guidance is appreciate and thank you in advance!
     
  2. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    263
    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
  3. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    I frequently pull over to photograph a scene that catches my eye. But usually I do it after seeing the scene many times, visualizing what I want to see in the frame and scoping out the best/safest place to park. When it is an area I am unfamiliar with i just look for a safe place to pull over. I think as long as you aren't trespassing and the area has no laws regarding parking on shoulders, you're okay. The law quoted above is mostly based on good common sense about interfering with traffic or posing a hazard to others.
     
  4. mfj197

    mfj197 Mu-43 Regular

    80
    Aug 20, 2012
    Guildford, UK
    Michael
    What country are you doing the driving in? Laws vary hugely around the world.

    Michael

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
     
  5. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    777
    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    cmpatti,
    Thanks! That's a good place to start as I intend to visit California later this year.

    Yes, I wouldn't stop unless I find the safest spot to stop and photograph. I guess I'd have to look up individual state laws depending on the places I intend to visit regarding parking on shoulders.

    Mostly in the US.
     
  6. phidauex

    phidauex Mu-43 Regular

    76
    Jun 17, 2013
    Boulder, CO
    The above posts are all relevant, but more important than laws are just using common sense and courtesy - if you are being safe and courteous, you won't get bothered, or at least be let off with a polite warning, regardless of the actual local laws.

    Here in Colorado there are a number of winding roads where people like to stop and photograph, and accidents are routinely caused by clusters of cars who sometimes just stop in the middle of the road to take a picture of an elk, while mountain residents are flying past at 60mph on their way to work. The tourist traffic jam is quite the stereotype. And right or wrong, mountain locals tend to drive a LOT faster than out-of-towners since they are very familiar with the curves.

    Main way to avoid problems like that is to avoid "clusters" (if there is an elk in one spot, there are probably many more in the area), find places to pull all the way off the road safely, and don't stop on corners or in blind areas. Don't be afraid to pull off in a safe area, and then walk back to the photo op - the short hike will do you good.

    Have fun on your trip!
     
  7. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    777
    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    I would definitely park on a relatively straight road than on the corner. I'll definitely have to use my best judgement and think about many factors before I stop. I live in DC and I know what it's like when tourists become an impediment to locals :smile:. I wouldn't want to be one when I am visiting other states/cities.
     
  8. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I take (literally) thousands of photos a year from the side of roads and don't recall every being questioned about what I was doing by no more than a curious bystander. I'm on a motorcycle so it's easier to find a place to pull over, but the guidelines remain the same:

    stay safe
    don't impede the flow of traffic
    stay safe
    walk against traffic if possible
    stay safe
    take a good photo
    stay safe
    don't linger longer than you have to
    stay safe
    maintain high situational awareness (rear LCDs are better than viewfinders for this)
    stay safe
    enjoy!

    In touristy areas they've situated scenic overlooks and such in good spots, so take advantage of them. But they can get crowded in the summer and there are always other good spots. Enjoy!

    7867551662_f7f5a5963e_z.
    Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, UT by john m flores, on Flickr
     
  9. DanSullivan

    DanSullivan Mu-43 Regular

    63
    Jun 21, 2010
    Colorado
    Dan Sullivan
    I do this all the time. Just make sure your car is completely off the roadway and you are not on a blind curve/hill where other vehicles coming up behind you would have limited visibility. Oh, and take care opening the door :)

    In many rural areas you also need to take care that the shoulder is solid (not swampy) and wide enough so you don't get stuck!
     
  10. As an aside there is an inexpensive series of books Roadside Geology series.
    Roadside Geology - Mountain Press Publishing Titles - Series
    mountain-press.com/series_detail.php?series_key=2‎
    Since its beginning in 1972, the popular Roadside Geology series has grown to include twenty-four titles. The goal of the series is to provide scientific ...

    Also if you wind up around Mexican Hat, Utah be certain to drive the Moki-Dugway. You can easily see the eastern edge of Monument Valley from there. It is very close to Goosenecks Statepark, Utah also.
    Moki Dugway - Midwestroads.com
    www.midwestroads.com/otherstates/mokidugway/‎
    Nov 8, 2005 – The Moki Dugway is located on UT-261 in southeast Utah, south of Natural Bridges National Monument. It is a series of sharp switchbacks ...
     
  11. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    777
    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    Excellent suggestions all, thank you so much :smile:.

    John,
    Safety of others and myself always comes first. I believe life is worth more than a photograph I'll make and wouldn't want to risk it for anything.

    Dan,
    Excellent point about the shoulder in rural areas, will remember that one for sure.

    lfmerrell,
    Thanks for the books suggestion, will look those up.
     
  12. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    I keep a fluorescent safety vest in the car and put it on along road sides. Many Indiana country don't have shoulders. Many have steep ditches almost immediately at road's edge which can cause slide off or roll over. This year within a one week period there were 3 fatal one car accidents in a one mile long section.

    I find a safe place to pull off, usually along a cross road, then walk to back to my spot.

    My vest model has a Star Trek force-field, which costs more that most MFT outfits, but it's worth it.:biggrin:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/95688968@N02/9098822218/" title="fluorescent vest by FotoCrit, on Flickr">"386" height="500" alt="fluorescent vest"></a>
     
  13. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    The road crew has been looking for you since lunch break.
     
  14. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I am quite surprised that you felt you needed to ask this question. (I'm assuming that you are talking about roadways in the USA.) Perhaps it is my own opinion, but there are a myriad of reasons why you should be able to (nee, have the right to) stop along the side of the road. As a citizen of the US, you own that road (and I don't buy the "privilege" crap that the states' dept of motor vehicles try to dump on you).

    I am assuming, of course, that you understand that some modicum of safety should be considered (i.e., is there room to pull off, and you're not obstructing any necessary/emergency access point) and this is the only thing I consider when looking for a place to stop. I do it all the time, but frequently am inhibited by the absence of berm to use for a safe pull-off. Otherwise go for it!
     
  15. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    Thank you, slothead. We do share ownership of the roadways and should feel no hesitation to use them to photograph just as others use them to travel.
     
  16. macalterego

    macalterego Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Jul 10, 2012
    Lawrence, KS
    Jeffrey McPheeters
    Didn't we learn in school that between any two points on a finite line (road) are an infinite number of points (of possible interest)? Enjoy your trip! One of my favorite things to do here in Kansas is to drive country roads looking for photo opportunities.
     
  17. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    Hey Dundee! I used to live in Kansas. Cycled a lot there (across the state from west to east at least twice, and from south to north as well). Used to pedal for hours and could still see the same grain elevators in the distance the whole time. :smile: But no crocs there!
     
  18. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    777
    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    Chrome,
    Thanks, that's a nice addition to my buy list.

    Tom,
    I am not an US citizen and only got my license recently, hence the question.
     
  19. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    Ahhh! I understand then! And welcome to the good old USA.
     
  20. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    They are about $12 at any hardware or superstore. They make similar t-shirts too. I don't wear this if I'm not close to the road.

    Where are you from? Enjoy America.