Miles before I sleep

DSC1-0017When you have a compact car that gets over 30 miles per gallon of gas, you don’t often have to stop for a refill.

With a recent job, I had the opportunity to visit some of the finer gas stations and convenience stores this state has to offer on a daily basis.

I was hired by the Arkansas Small Business Technology and Development Center ( to work on promotional materials that featured their clients from all over the state. In the course of a week, I hit three of the four corners of the state as well as the central region. I missed out on the southeast, but maybe in the future we’ll have some there, too.

During that week, I also had the rare opportunity to put a full tank of gas in my car on a daily basis.

The first day had me in the northeast corner of the state in Jonesboro, where I photographed a family pharmacy, a researcher at Arkansas State University and a cabinet shop that had seen its business take off with help from the ASBTDC.

The next day found me completely across the state in the northwest corner, photographing a mobile veterinarian, an agency that rents electric vehicles and a hummus chef. On the way back home, I made a stop in Russellville in the Arkansas River valley to photograph a young man who operates a climbing facility and a woman who has a store full of kitchen supplies.

The following day had me closer to home, photographing in the central Arkansas area. Included were stops at a brewery, a print shop and a baker who does some of the most elaborate custom cakes I’ve ever seen.

I concluded with a trip to the southwest, photographing a screen printer, a supplier of leather goods for manufacturers of baseball mitts, a nursing home and a manufacturer of boats used in duck hunting.

Covering just a shade over 1,000, I knew I would have to travel light and be pretty efficient with my time and the client’s. I took minimal lighting gear, mainly relying on small speed lights to provide the lighting. I also had to assess each situation quickly to find a good spot for the environmental photos.

I really love this type of work, since it allows me to dip back into my journalism background. The flexibility that’s required to quickly find a suitable background to compliment a subject I’ve just met is both challenging and rewarding when the shot falls together.

Not to mention that driving Arkansas backroads is one of my favorite pastimes.


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