Framing the Shot

Sep 30, 2013 View Comments by

Framing the ShotFraming a photo is an art, or at least an important part of hitting that shutter button.  Framing allows us to manipulate a scene. It lets us focus on what is really there. It can highlight something that would otherwise be overlooked; conversely, it can also be used to hide objects. I’m choosing the above picture as an example of what I mean.

At first glance, it looks like I am in the middle of a barren, beautiful land empty and alone. There isn’t really much to look at, four things to be exact: the road, the sand, the sky, and me. The strength of this photo is how it was framed, its simplicity. It’s clean and uncluttered, which is a style that I love, and that is why I asked Joe Trey to shoot this photo of me when we unexpectedly came across this random spot on the highway.

Joe and I were riding the western portion of the Trans America Trail together. We had just left the “Vegas like” town of Winnemucca, NV, home of the overly advertised “Shady Court Motel.” Yes, we stayed there, yes, we locked our bikes together at night, and yes we were glad to leave in the morning. In true Vegas fashion we ordered lobster eggs benedict at the local diner as we were leaving this town that hasn’t been updated in 30 years. (They were out of lobster, we settled for ham.)

A few miles outside of town, I hollered at Joe through our headsets to stop so we could take a picture of this random sand hill by the highway. Everything around us was flat and littered with rock and cacti, everywhere except for the sand bank. The road was busy and semis were blazing down the road from both directions. There was even a sign that said don’t stop to take pictures. Apparently I wasn’t the first person to have this idea. Joe grabbed his Nikon from his tankbag and set up the shot. I crossed the road waiting for a clearing in traffic. It took a few runs to get a clean clear shot through all the semi traffic, all while framing in only on the lone sand bank. After about five minutes Joe told me he had the shot. (You have to love headsets.) As I turned around from the last run to head back to Joe, I noticed that I had pulled out in front of a cop. Joe saw this too and quickly threw the camera back in his tankbag. He rolled out onto the road and I followed his lead as we quickly accelerated up to speed. We were giggling like little girls over our intercoms, just waiting and expecting to get pulled over, but it didn’t happen. We kept driving and eventually the cop pulled off and we were free. Success, we got the photo.

So back to the point, framing is everything, and every photo has a story about how it was taken. It’s not always what the photo shows, but sometime what it doesn’t.


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About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.