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“The best way out is always through.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stop & Look at Scenic Overlooks

I'd be the first to admit that I've never taken a very good picture from a scenic overlook and the reason is fairly simple: while overlooks provide a good wide view of the landscape around you, they're too broad and unfocused to become worthwhile landscape photos. But that doesn't mean that I don't stop and look at the view when I come across an overlook. In fact, I go out of my way to find them on maps or to ask locals where the best scenic views are found. Whatever they lack in terms of more intimate subject matter, these wide vistas are great at giving you the lay of the land and showing you just where you are traveling.

I shot this photo on my first road trip between Phoenix and Flagstaff and just seeing this view and the winding dirt road leading off into the mountains gave me a great sense of the scale of the landscape and a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. The shot was taken just a few steps from an interstate highway, but it's not the kind of view you get to study at 60 mph (unless you want to end up a part of the view). There were also some nice historical and natural-history markers in the pull-off parking lot and some very detailed state maps on display, so all-in-all, a great place to get better acquainted with where I was and what Arizona looked like.

You may or may not get a good photo from an overlook, but they're certainly worth visiting. In fact, anything that gets you off the interstate for a few minutes is a great thing, photographically and otherwise.

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