Trucking inspires stunning landscape photography

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This Arkansas scene is one of Royce’s many sunset shots.This Arkansas scene is one of Royce’s many sunset shots.

Shannon Royce has been seriously doing photography only about as long as she’s been driving big rigs, which isn’t long, but she’s proven herself with a keen eye for Western landscapes.

Royce, 45, has spent all three of her driving years teamed with her husband, Greg Royce, who was her trainer while leased to Prime, Inc. She grabbed a camera two years ago, while she was still in her permit stage and studying to complete her CDL.

Greg and Shannon Royce team drive for Barlow Truck Lines.Greg and Shannon Royce team drive for Barlow Truck Lines.

“I started taking pictures to take my mind off studying,” she says. “I was trying too hard.” The other motivation for capturing road scenes was to show family and friends back home in Florence, Alabama, the kinds of sites she was seeing on a regular basis.

Now leased to Barlow Truck Lines of Faucett, Mo., she and Greg pull a reefer with a leased 2017 Freightliner Cascadia. They’re planning to lease a 2017 Volvo VNL 780 next before deciding on a truck purchase.

Shannon started her trucking photography with a standard single-lens reflex camera, the Cannon Rebel T6i.

“I couldn’t get used to it,” she recalls, partly because she kept bumping it. Soon after she bought a GoPro Hero 4, commonly used in a protective case.

Several of Shannon Royce’s most dramatic landscape photos show rain coming down at a distance, such as this shot of wind turbines in central Wyoming.Several of Shannon Royce’s most dramatic landscape photos show rain coming down at a distance, such as this shot of wind turbines in central Wyoming.

The tiny GoPro cameras, which shoot video and still frames, have been extremely popular for mounting on users in outdoor sports such as skiing or skydiving. Truckers have used them like forward-facing dashcams, also mounting them in exterior positions to capture other angles of the road.

“I used it for a year,” Shannon says. “I got a little bored and thought maybe I should start with the Canon. So I picked it up again.”

Many of her photos on Facebook and Instagram show Midwestern and Western landscapes, some with trucks. The most dramatic ones show intense cloud formations, sometimes with clear views of isolated showers, a perspective that’s rare in the East.

She says she does no special processing with Photoshop, but occasionally uses the Snapseed smartphone app that allows basic photo adjustments. “The camera is almost too perfect when I take a picture,” she says.

Besides the landscapes, food closeups are another favorite. “A lot of people like to see what we do out here, what we eat,” she says.

Long-haul work has been a fulfillment of a long-time dream Royce shared with her husband: that they would team drive when their three children were grown.

“I love it out here!” she says.

This might appear to be a wildfire, but it was Oklahoma farmers burning off their fields.This might appear to be a wildfire, but it was Oklahoma farmers burning off their fields. With her Facebook post of this, Royce wrote, “Wyoming Wishing Me A Happy Birthday Today.”With her Facebook post of this, Royce wrote, “Wyoming Wishing Me A Happy Birthday Today.”
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