The Road to Know Where: America at 55 Miles an Hour; A Kickstarter Project to Help Fund a Photographer's Extended Cross Country Drive on the Back Roads of the Country

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Vermont photographer Chris Stearns has planned an ambitious route through the countries many National Parks without using the interstate. Leaving his home state in the middle of April, Stearns plans to self-publish a book with the funding from his campaign.

You miss so much of this country driving through it on the highway

“You miss so much of this country driving through it on the highway,” says Stearns, “I want to see the things that you don't get to see from the fast lane.”

With his unique style of photography, Stearns intends to find new perspectives on the landscape. The resulting photos will appear in his book and will also be displayed as aluminum prints in select galleries in Vermont and around the country.

The proposed route covers over 14,000 miles of secondary roads, and Stearns estimates that it will take well over three months. Stearns plans to camp and stay with family and friends in an effort to get intimate local knowledge of the places he visits – and avoid the ubiquitous roadside hotels.

His photography often makes use of a technique known as HDR, or high dynamic ranging. This process uses a series of photographs of the same scene taken from a tripod at a broad range of exposures. The resulting images cover a gamut from very dark to very light, and when these are combined in post processing the resulting composite is exposed correctly throughout the image. HDR photography allows the photographer to capture lighting conditions that would otherwise be difficult to capture with a single exposure.

Unique to Stearns’ process is that he uses just one lens - the Carl Zeiss Distagon 21mm f2.8. This is a super wide angle manual focus lens that is well-known among photographers for its incredible clarity. This lens also has the ability to give to depth to an image, making it appear almost three dimensional.

Stearns has turned to the micro-fundraising website in an attempt to raise $15,000 to help fund this ambitious road trip. Kickstarter campaigns operate under an “all or nothing” policy, so if the set goal of $15,000 is not met by April 14th, none of the money will go toward the project. To follow the project and see more of his latest work, find Chris on Twitter (@21mmphotography) or on Facebook and spread the word among your social networks. Consider donating as little as $1 to the Kickstarter campaign. If you contribute more you can select from a signed copy of the book or signed limited edition aluminum prints, among other things.

If you would like more information on Chris Stearns or his photography, please visit his site,, or email him at 21mmphotographyvt(at)gmail(dot)com.

For updates on his progress both before and during the trip, see Chris' blog:

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