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I also shot lots of birds and even some elk…and that was just on this one two-week road trip!

Just to ensure there are no misunderstandings, I’m talking about shooting with a camera, NOT with a gun.

If you haven’t tried it, a car makes a wonderful blind, and many animals will tolerate being photographed from a vehicle, whereas they’ll bolt as soon as you try to get out of the vehicle.

At the very least, I’ll take some “insurance” shots from the vehicle before attempting to get closer on foot.

I did a lot of my shooting from the car on this particular road trip due to the almost constant rain.  I wanted to stay dry (and warm) and I didn’t want to expose my camera gear to the rain needlessly, either.

A partial list of the critters I shot from the car on this road trip includes:

  • cows (and calves)
  • horses
  • mules
  • sheep
  • grizzly bears (captive)
  • wild turkeys
  • killdeer
  • ravens
  • great horned owls
  • osprey
  • great egrets
  • yellow-bellied marmots
  • deer
  • elk

If the weather’s icky and/or the animals skittish, I shoot through a partially open window.  If the weather’s good and the animals are relaxed, due to species and/or distance, I’ll shoot through the open sunroof.

This image was made with a 400 mm lens.  As I was driving along, there were a couple of deer on the side of the road that bolted into the forest, then froze.  I was able to lower the passenger window while coasting the car to a stop without spooking the deer.  The woods were thick, but I was lucky and had a clear view of the torso and head of the deer.  I was able to get two quick shots before the deer continued on his way up the trail.

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2 Comments

  1. That’s an impressive list of creatures that you were able to photograph (you must have been in some pretty wild county to see all of them). I’ve never really thought about photographing from inside the car, but it makes sense (as long as you can do so safely). Do you just pull to the side of the road to shoot? (I assume you are not moving as you shoot.)

    • Hi Mike,

      Yes, a long list of creatures, but not particularly wild country. Mostly farmland, for that matter. A number of “wild” critters adapt to living alongside us, too. For example, the osprey had a nest on a utility pole in a town, and two of the great horned owls were living in an abandoned grain elevator (and most likely raising a family there).

      I shoot from my car a lot, and on this particular trip, many of my landscape images as well as my critter images were shot from the car. Mostly due to almost constant rain, but sometimes, truth be told, due to sheer laziness. The zoom lens is my friend! 😉

      Since I mostly travel alone, I do NOT shoot while moving. Not recommended for either image quality or the photographer’s longevity. 😛

      On busier roads, I only stop in pullouts, and on very quiet backroads (such as much of the Palouse, for example) I’ll just pull to the side of the road ensuring that I’m readily visible (e.g., not over the crest of a hill or around a blind curve) and that other vehicles can get around me easily.

      Thanks for your questions and comments.

      RPRT Photo


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