Passenger: recommendations to photograph in the highway

Lonely vertical

I travel by bus, planes are expensive and I’m not in a hurry. I know the highlands, the valleys, deserts, the coast, and a bit of the jungle. I like to take snapshots of the landscape and I’ve a method that could be useful to you.

Ready to go


In first place you need to see. To observe requires you enjoying the view from the window. Otherwise is the camera the one travelling and not you. Of course this suggestion is valid if you are like me, a guy that enjoys to travel, if you are a photographer then you can skip them. This is because there are two kind of persons, the ones that take photographs of the travels they enjoy and the other a person that travels to get photographs in a portfolio to show/sell. Rarely you can be both at the same time.

You can use any camera, just try to turn off any flash in your camera so you are not going to take photos of its reflection against the window. The problems you are going to find and their solutions are the following:

  • Reflections in the window: Reduce them with a polarizer filter

Rocky castle

If you see the photograph in the blue sky and the top of the rock you can see reflections of the opposite windows of the bus. They could have been even worse but the polarizer helped to reduce to the maximum any reflection.

Little cloud

In this photograph instead the polarizer got rid of any reflection.

  • Color casts from the window: use software to correct it

Towers Hill

The colors across the windows are going to be a bit twisted and sometimes funny. To correct them you can use editing software with white balance correction, there are both free and paid programs. Usually you can pick an object known to be white (a painted wall, a sign, a cloud) and it automatically correct it. Nevertheless still the colors can end different because windows aren’t made to be optical elements but protection and source of light. A raw file is easier to correct than the common jpeg file.

One thing you can do is accept that fact and take advantage of the differences in colors.

  • Poles and obstacles: take quickly a second photograph

A scream in the sky

When you are traveling the car can be on the road at high speeds. So there is no way to carefully design a composition. Some like to use bracketing, I don’t like to do that, I prefer to preview in my mind how is going to change the perspective, wait until it and shot like a Jabusame (a Japanese archer on a running horse) but it’s possible that the mind reacts by instinct when there is something in the landscape. I take a photograph to discover a pole or a sign, so quickly I shot it again.

  • Blown highlights: use a graduated filter

Summoning clouds

You can take a photograph and suddenly you see that this happened: the land is according to your eyes but the sky is almost white and without detail. In these cases a graduated filter is mandatory, of course you can recover in software (specially with the last cameras) but the less time you live in front of a computer the better.

  • Discover stories: observe the highway

Waiting with loyalty

Along the highway there are evidences of stories. The most of them has not an obvious explanation because people in the countryside is always different. What happened to that car? Is the dog a watcher or is just resting? the scars of sun and rain in the textiles give a sense of time too. A story for a detective.

  • Dirty windows give flares: take advantage of them!

Beyond the ground a luminous place

I love flares! If you don’t like them then a lens hood could help you. In my case I like how the dirty windows (they’re always dirty) transform the light and get a diffuse and low contrast image.

  • Difficulty in taking photographs at twilight and night: get the most of those hours

Glazing eye

It doesn’t matter if you have a cell phone of a giant camera: in broad day they can get nice pictures. The problem is with low light, the most basic the camera the blinder it is to low light scenaries. In those circunstances a tripod and a long exposure would be the option but in a car in movement that is just impossible. In this moment technology matters and the best camera is going to give you more useable photographs. To this first photograph I used a Fujifilm X-E1 camera and a fast 1.4 fujinon lens.

If you can get a camera with a big sensor then the night is going to be open to you. Quality films have usually low sensivity to light so they aren’t suitable for these dark hours.

Somebody else in the highway

In this photograph I used my Sony R1, it has a big sensor but it’s quite old so it’s a bit blind to the night. So I used a long exposure to get the lights of the passing cars. I knew I couldn’t get a sharp photograph but I could get photographs with movement.

Four neighbors

End of the travel

Follow the line

So the travel ends, usually when the night is closer. Time to rest and be ready for the next trip…

Last bus to the city

A hand waving a bye

I was not sure about posting this photograph with the rest of the pareidolia theme. The cactus at the right in the foreground seems to me a hand, but the shape is so similar that I don’t think it’s pareidolia anymore but an analogy.

This sanctuary is old but always seems to be a living creature… sleeping, breathing. Its thoughts flying in the dense sky: prophecies blending with dreams in the mist.

Paolo et Francesa – escape from hell

Paolo and Francesca find a hole in the hell. They discover inside a tranquil blue sky and a colorful place to start again their love: hopefully they escape.

They fly a colorful city dreaming to touch each other with their wings. The colors start to melt inside the rotten shells, the sky burns and the shadows change their shapes into laughing beasts ripping Francesca with lupine tusks.

Paolo wakes up. He sees in silence the familiar whirlwind, there is no Francesca in it. He is alone.

White wall


Felipillo means “lil’ Philip” Spaniards used in the beginning of their fanatic invasion those derogatory names instead our names, so they would say Juanillo (lil’ John) et al with their servants.

Felipillo is important because it was the first servant of the foreign invaders. A handy translator that they used to get in prison to the Inca and, afraid of a militar answer of our generals, lastly killing him with ridiculous charges of idolatry (they had their gods, we had our beliefs) and polygamy (in Bible there are a lot of characters with several wives and Spaniards cared to do the same here); that was possible with the help of Felipillo that was also greedy and wanted one of the ñustas (princess) for him and perhaps felt that he would win a lot being a servant.

He didn’t win nothing. His name in Peru is now the term used for traitor. Pizarro, Hernandez and Almagro in Spain are heroes (and it’s right because they made heroic feats to the glory of Spain) but in Peru they are the worst according to our culture, thieves; the Spaniards that came from Spain are in Europe conquerors, in Peru they are invaders. But Felipillo appeared in a moment when to the laws of Spain we were even doubted to be human beings so I understand he’s not a hero, he’s nothing in their history, but in our history he appears like the maximum traitor.

Felipillo proves that the human nature is universal, in everybody there is the power to do anything, we weren’t a civilization of saints and Spaniards weren’t a civilization of bad people. I understand the most of them came from a background of poverty and despair, several of us were also greedy and allied to them; the invaders after a time would be punished by their king and would die in internal wars, the gold and silver that they stolen from us in the end would origin inflation in Spain and the consequent poverty, so the meeting would bring bad and good things for both sides. In my opinion the best they brought was the idea of pardon.

After my travels across my country I’m afraid that we are now a country of Felipillos, we betray our world, instead of making it evolve, we choose to sell us for a few coins from foreigners. Nothing is created or produced but imported. It’s like a kind of lack of self-steem. Walking the streets is a shock because no one of the cars was designed or even manufactured in the country, we are a dead country without soul. That’s the difference between a developed country from a modern one: the modern country can have machines, electronics or arts, but it depends of the production and thought outside said country, if the producers would negate to sell we simple would be recycling the cars until they break; instead a developed country has the capacity to design a car, and if it wants to manufacture it.

What makes it funnier is that foreigners come to my country to experience our culture in the belief that we are still authentic. They came and what they find is schools of yoga and Hindu philosophy…

The thirsty pastures waiting for the time of rains

Usually I hear music while working, but sometimes I get tired so I turn on the TV to have background noise. Days ago I was hearing a movie (eyes in the work) and after it there was a Colombian series of erotic stories, as I was concentrated in my drawings I let it be. The story was about an actress that one day decides to accept an offer to pose naked for a magazine. Then her family and her boyfriend decide to ban her from their lives; she suffers and nobody wants to hire her because the immorality to pose in the magazine. In the end she writes a book of four thousand pages to explain to the country that she feels regret for have posed. Then the boyfriend and family goes to say her that they forgive her…

It was so funny. I don’t know what is the guilt or sin in the body, and besides I think the most horrible in that story is the family that betrays their own blood, the boyfriend whose “image” is far more important than the love and support. The story is funny because Colombia has a great market of magazines with models, even some of their magazines are here in Peru and that’s great. In the end I couldn’t stop to laugh because the hostess of the program was a lady with a vast cleavage showing generous breasts…

But sadly there is something of reality in that program. I know some friends, male, in the cities that are more closer to the European traditions of middle ages, that consider a woman they want to marry a prostitute if she is not virgin, but they feel the obligation to get laid with several ladies (even when they are already married with the virgin) that they consider not suitable for a relationship because to them are just ladies to “use.” And the girls in those cities tend to choose those boys because they have the image of strength they are looking for, that’s one of the reasons I got disappointment about girls in those places and I prefer to be alone, to me a lady like that, from my native point of view is a weak person that has no dreams to fight for. It’s the way of their society in general of Latinos, in the case of natives those are quite uncomfortable traditions, we have an institution: the servinacuy, it’s a legal institution where a couple lives together, can have children and everything, but it’s considered a trial time before the marriage, because there is nothing more terrible than a man or woman get stuck in a life not meant to be. Sadly with the advance of westerners traditions some of them replace our healthy traditions, it’s true that some of those traditions have to disappear in this modern world, but the westerner world in Peru is one from the middle ages.