We made a few on the fly adjustments to our Great American Road Trip while exiting Nebraska through the west. First, we decided we would visit Cheyenne for a night rather than drive to Fort Collins and then Denver, Colorado and rush a leg of the trip we intend to spend a few days (weeks?!) doing right. I’ve always wanted to visit Colorado and we plan on hitting a few out of the way spots in the Rockies when we venture south from northern Wyoming in late July.
Our second adjustment involved skipping a part of north western Nebraska for now. Again, there are a few places we want to visit in that part of the state and we don’t want to rush the experience, so we’ve decided to add a second round of Nebraska to a trip that will include a bit of Montana and a whole lot of South Dakota. We’re going Bison hunting, basically.
This left us with a single night in Cheyenne after a long drive from Lincoln. I’ve discussed many times the importance of looking at a town – especially one you’ve never visited before – with fresh eyes and taking a new perspective on oft-photographed aspects of said town. This can be tough to do when you’re tired and run down, but I’ve been conscious of that maxim while on this road trip and I like to think it has served me well. Instead of looking at the surface of a place – say the State Capitol Building in Cheyenne from the main entryway, for example – I look at what makes up a space close to it and surrounding it. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking the typical tourist shot or framing in your viewfinder what you’ve seen on postcards countless times before. You can and should do this, if only to remind yourself you’re ever bit as capable of capturing this moments as the photographer down the block. What is important to remember is that there is that which is worth shooting below the surface of a place – or down a back alley, as it were.
Don’t forget that the most important aspect of place is people. I work hard to create evocative environmental portraits of people from a given place whenever I can. Sadly, I didn’t run into any cowboys downtown on this visit – Cheyenne is a sleepy place on a Sunday night – but I’ll be keeping my eye out when we visit during Frontier Days in July.