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America the beautiful: Photos from a road-trip of a lifetime

Justin Bell

Pictures taken on an unhurried journey across the fruited plain.

Click here to launch the slideshow

I recently returned to Arizona from a five-week summer trip. I took about four days to drive to the Boston area, stayed there a little over three weeks, and spent the last week making my way back with a mostly different route. Being a teacher gives me the freedom to make such a trip in the summer. However, I credit my parents for building the foundation for these cross-country excursions when we took a number of similar trips during my childhood via rail and road. These ground journeys gave me a valuable geospatial awareness of the fruited plains and the time it takes to cross them.

As an adult, I have made a number of trips on my own, stopping to stay with friends and relatives and in new places, enjoying the solitude and enrichment time with prayer, silence, music, news and podcasts. Visually, the American road-trip provides unexpected vistas that can reward patience and perseverance. If you are not in too great a hurry, taking some time to get out of the car, gaze, and snap a picture or two can give you an album to share with others who cannot make such an odyssey.

Here are some images and captions from my last week on the road in July 2018.

5 Tips for taking landscape road-trip pictures

  1. You don’t need an expensive camera; the camera on your phone can provide some amazing shots (though it might give an exaggerated color and contrast).
  2. Be careful to pull over in a safe spot, and always look both ways when near roads. Don’t assume cars can see you.
  3. Afternoons and early evenings are going to provide some beautiful light and contrast for amazing vistas. The same goes for inclement weather.
  4. You will need to take some time to stop and snap, so loosen your estimated time of arrival at your next overnight.
  5. Thank God for the beautiful scenes; you can allow them to draw you into prayer.
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