Behind the Scene - Gridlock Traffic Photo | | Brainerd, Minnesota

Behind the Scene - Gridlock Traffic Photo

Cars were stuck in gridlock between Nisswa and Pequot Lakes because of road construction.  Bored Photographer Kelly Humphrey - Stuck in Traffic
Bored Photographer Kelly Humphrey - Stuck in Traffic
Cars were stuck in gridlock between Nisswa and Pequot Lakes because of road construction.

BEHIND THE SCENES - the story behind the photo

I was on my way to an assignment in Jenkins to get pictures of an orchard and quite suddenly found myself stuck in Road Construction Purgatory for the sin of believing that I could go from Nisswa to Pequot Lakes without any trouble.  Silly me.

Apparently, they had torn the road to pieces and we were down to only one lane, which meant traffic going south and traffic going north were going to have to take turns using that one itty bitty lane - during rush hour.  This wasn't even stop and start traffic - this was sit in your car without moving and hope you don't die of old age traffic.

Now, I've grown up in this area and am totally not used to gridlock.  If it's fifteen miles away it only takes fifteen minutes to get there.  Patience is a virtue I struggle with.

At first I sat with admirable equanimity.  After a few minutes I realized we weren't going anywhere for a while.  So I got out my phone and did the usual - checked e-mail and updated my status.  Still, we weren't moving.  And I didn't really feel like playing Angry Birds.

So, what's a photographer stuck in traffic to do? 

Start looking for things to take pictures of from the car - obviously.  Actually, I'd seen the picture I wanted to take from my rearview mirror awhile ago but that was back when I thought that this was only a temporary delay and I still had hope.  Wouldn't want to be distracted when the traffic started moving again.

Clearly that wasn't going to be a problem.  The picture I wanted was the line of bumper-to-bumper cars that reminded me of a fractal curving into the distance behind me.

Now, you might think from looking at the photo that I abandoned my car to stand in front of the stilled traffic for that angle. But no, I still couldn't take the risk that a miracle would occur and it would be our turn to move.

Nope, what I did was open my sunroof, stuck my camera out the top of the car and started shooting blindly.  It's a photographer's trick called spray and pray - take a bunch of photos and hope one of them captures what you were going for.  Actually, I checked the images a couple of times to adjust the angle and eventually found the one I was looking for.

I'm sure the people behind me were wondering what the heck I was doing.  In fact I know they noticed my camera because in a couple of pictures I saw someone waving at me from one of the cars.

Anyway - thankfully, at about the twenty-minute mark, traffic was on the move again and I had an extra picture for the paper.