Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Sweeping the steps on a Monday morning August 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:08 AM
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WHILE ON A FOUR-DAY vacation in Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota earlier this week, I took nearly 500 photos.

Posed pictures. Landscapes. Carefully framed frames. And then photo after photo after photo that I shot from the passenger side of the car as my husband, son and I traveled along interstates, state highways and winding, narrow back country roads.

Taking photos from a car traveling at highway speeds can be difficult. But I enjoy the challenge of trying to capture a good, even great, image while on the move. Let’s just say I’m never bored because I’m constantly seeking photo ops.

That means looking ahead, anticipating and clicking the shutter button at just the right moment. Too soon and I miss the shot. Too late and I miss the shot. I can’t even begin to tell you how many pictures I’ve failed to get because I’ve had the camera switched to OFF or I’m not quick enough.

But the more I practice this method of photography, the better I become. I’ve managed to snap some of my favorite photos through the windows of a car. Yes, I keep the windows closed unless the car is traveling at 30 mph or less. I don’t want to risk dirt/dust flying into my camera and landing on the sensor.

And it goes unsaid that clean windows are a must, but not always possible. I don’t let dirty glass stop me from taking photographs.

All that said, here’s my favorite car-shot image from this trip.

My favorite image from this road trip: "Sweeping the steps on a Monday morning at a Mexican restaurant in Omro, Wisconsin."

Let me tell you a little about the subject. On our way to Appleton, Wisconsin, on Saturday, we drove through Omro, a small town just west of Oshkosh on State Highway 21. I saw this vivid orange Mexican restaurant, but wasn’t in a position to photograph it.

However, on the return trip through Omro on Monday morning, I had my camera ready and, when I saw the man sweeping the front steps of the restaurant, I fired off two quick frames and got what I consider a pretty darned good photo.

The vivid colors and composition make this, in my opinion, a good photo.

But the image excels to excellent when you consider the subject—a man sweeping the steps. Ordinary becomes extraordinary for the everyday story told. As a photographer, I strive to photograph regular, everyday life. When I manage to photograph a scene like this one, I am pleased, mighty pleased.

Even in black-and-white, the image remains a strong photo.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling