In March, my dad and I drove down from Washington to Charlottesville, Virginia to visit family. On the way down, I saw this barn and its mountain backdrop and pointed it out to my dad as we sped past.
There are many sweeping views and lonely trees that I want to photograph, and I usually spot these things as I drive past them at 65 mph (or more). I never stop, either because I'm trying to make good time on a road trip, or because I don't want to inconvenience my fellow travelers. But I have a short mental list of trees I want to photograph, and likely never will, or can't:
1. One in the water of a branch of Buffalo Bayou best seen as you drive past downtown Houston on I-10;
2. Another off I-45, leaning towards the marshy mess right before the highway lifts you over Galveston Bay;
3. One that lives in the past next to a lake in Lomé, Togo. I used to bike by it and think, "I need to stop and take a picture of that tree." One day, I biked by and it had fallen down. I missed my chance to make the image I wanted and I will never get another.
Back in March, as my dad and I returned to Washington, we passed that bucolic view again. I can't remember how I communicated that I wanted to take a picture, but my father turned the car around, crossed the highway, and parked along the narrow shoulder. My dad taught me my road trip driving skills -- five miles above the speed limit is ok, watch the horizon for police cars. He surprised me; I probably would have kept driving.
I'm grateful we stopped.
It's easy to make excuses, to say I'm already late, I'll do it tomorrow, next time. As that dead Togolese tree so clearly shows, there may not be a next time. Stop and take your picture.