Jon Yager Photography » Jon Yager Photography

The Commute Photo Project

A few years ago I was working in multiple offices spread out between Santa Barbara and San Diego.  I would spend a day or two in one office and a day or two in another.  This meant a lot of time in the car.  At first the driving was killing me, the radio got boring, my CD’s (and believe me, I have a lot of them) got boring, my iPod got old . . .

Then I had an idea.  I would take my camera along and take photos. This turned out to me much harder then I thought it would be.  You can’t really see, aim, focus, zoom, compose, etc. while driving.  Not unless you want to get killed.  So, I modified what I was doing and decided to just have some fun.

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The Rules:

  • No Aiming or planning.  If I see something out of the corner of my eye, I would just lift the camera and shoot.
  • No looking in the view finder or at the LCD screen at the back of the camera – before or AFTER the shot is taken.
  • Take many photos. Some days I took a few hundred.
  • No looking until I get home and put them on the computer.
  • Keep the editing to a minimum.

That was it.  I was amazed that while doing this for almost a year I did not have one person notice I was taking their picture.  I had a Canon DSLR pointing right at them, sometimes only a few feet from their head and they didn’t notice. Then I starting to think about the way I used to drive.  Look straight ahead, think about something (anything other then being in traffic), pay no attention to what is around you other then the car in front of you.  Is that the way we go through life sometimes?  Of the hundreds of people that I took photos of, all of them had no idea I was there.  They all just looked straight ahead in their own world.

Pay attention to what is around you. So much beauty, commedy, action, colors, shapes . . .   It is all right there just to be seen.  Or, there may be someone taking a picture of you.  This project help me actually look around and see and have fun at the same time.

I put these photos up on a photo blog a few years ago that I think a total of 2 people read.  I was one of those two. I was going through them the other day and thought I should do something with them.  I put a video together of some of them.  I enjoy watching this as it reminds me of my great commute days.  Funny that I look back at them as fun now.  I guess there is a lesson in there someplace about life in general.

Let me know what you think or other ideas you have.  What do you do to keep you self positive in not-so-fun situations?

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