Well the summer has finally arrived here in Missoula and I think that I can safely say that our Summer Intensive students are grateful to not have to interpret rain photographically any more.

With summer comes one of my favorite activities… The tried and true Road Trip. I love driving without a destination. Coming across small, unknown towns with timeless diners and odd curiosity shops always provides fuel for my imagination. My family is coming out this summer to Montana. I am hosting about twelve characters for a week here in Missoula so my mind has been immersed in designing a visual experience (perhaps a road trip) that exemplifies Montana.

Road Trips are also on my mind because I am in the midst of proofing a catalog write-up for a new workshop that we will be offering in June 2011. Yep, It’s called Road Trip Montana and we have found the best instructor to teach it. So if you are interested in embracing the open road and all of the discoveries that accompany this type of exploration with your camera and a brilliant teacher, you may want to pencil RMSP in for the summer of 2011.

In the meantime, I came across this bizarre Google map that lists a variety of locations for unusual landscape photography.  So if you are looking for places to Road Trip to, you may want to check out one of these locations and then send in your photos to share with us.

Sci-Fi Film Locations

To see examples of photographs taken at some of these sites, check out the book, Outerland by Allison Davies

Outerland: Photographs by Allison Davies

And finally, with summer comes the hot sun and challenges with mid-day exposure. One option to deal with this issue is to be patient for a better time of day. Another popular option is to do some HDR (high dynamic range) photography.

For tips on shooting at sunrise, sunset and twilight, this is a great tutorial by one of our instructors, Tim Cooper.

For those of you who enjoy HDR photography, but don’t want to be bothered with stitching multiple exposures together, I have great news. Canon just applied for a patent that will offer in-camera HDR that would affect exposure values at the pixel level.  If only Ansel Adams were alive today. Keep in mind with HDR, that just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Continue to embrace the intended mood of the photograph. Sometimes the best thing that you can do to strengthen a photo is to let the window blow out or let a shadow fade to black. We don’t always benefit from seeing everything. It will be a while before this new technology is available to us, but for those of you who are curious to learn more about what Canon is up to check out this article.

And for those of you who, like me, are into futuristic rumors, Mike Gurley from Canon turned me on to

Wow, this post kind of feels like a road trip. It’s a road trip on the internet. By the way, if you have any ideas of what I should show my family when they arrive in Montana, let me know. I love to read comments.


One thought on “ROAD TRIP!

Profile photo of Mel Mann


I’ve wandered around the Imperial Valley in California and looked at scenes I’d swear were in Star Trek the TV series. There’s a rock formation near the sand dunes there that I kept saying, “Did Capt. Kirk stand next to that rock?” Love the link to the Sci-Fi film sites. Wonder what other things Google has in it’s library of the weird and unusual.

Road Trip Workshop? What an outstanding idea. If you’re collecting emails for interested parties please include mine.

Feels like Canon is going the pointillist route – we’ll be adjusting shades of each pixel in PS and lose perspective of the “big picture.” Be interesting to see how such can be dimensionalized.

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