For those of you who might be concerned for my safety as I risk my life to take some of these pictures (and I would like to hope that at least my immediate family members are concerned) let me assure you I take safety very seriously.
First, I always wear my “Safety Sam” vest on days when I am in and out of the car alot taking pictures. It is one of the bright, fluorescent yellow (some call it green) vests that highway workers wear. I don’t want to become roadkill, or in this case trackkill.
Second, when walking up and down the roadway to position myself for the perfect shot I try to walk behind the guardrail if it safe to do so (fear of snakes notwithstanding). When in position and focusing (pun intended) my full attention on the shot itself I definitely stand behind the guardrail.
Third, I always walk towards oncoming traffic, and will usually stop in my tracks (pun intended again) until vehicles pass so as not to present a moving target (easier for them to hit a stationary target, though. Maybe I need to start staggering….).
If you see a picture which was taken from inside the car through the windshield while still on the road, it was most likely taken while the car was stopped in the road. If I am on a back road, or even a highway when there isn’t much traffic, I often just stop in the road to save time. Sometimes the dropoff to get on the shoulder is steep and I have bottomed out the car on more than one occasion getting to and from the shoulder.
Finally, if I pull off a road where there is no overlook or guardrail I am careful NOT to park on the tall, dry grass which is often right next to the road. These folks have enough problems with wildfires which are started by lightning (or arsonists) and I don’t want to be responsible for causing the JohnBoy Fire which consumes 60,000+ acres.
Full disclosure: Yes, I admit that on a rare occasion I will take a picture from inside the car while it is still moving (sorry Shawn, I know you’re going to yell at me!). If I do that it is because there is no traffic in my immediate vicinity. I know I shouldn’t do it, but I try to be very, very careful when I do.
There have been many times when I have seen what would be a great picture but if there is no safe place to park and get the shot, I just let it go. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of great photo ops out here….