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Tag Archives: Vacation
I was on vacation in Panama City Beach, FL last week with my wife’s family. As mentioned in a previous entry, I tried to photograph the family in more of a documentary style than a usual vacation style. I was relatively successful (I think), but I spent more time shooting video with my little JVC Everio camera.
(A quick review of Panama City Beach. It used to be called the “Redneck Riviera”, and was tacky, gaudy, and cheesy. The Powers That Be have done an outstanding job of cleaning the place up – perhaps too outstanding. The tacky is mostly gone. There are very few seedy motels and almost no neon. It is becoming much more of a generic Florida beach town.)
Of course, while we were vacationing – having fun in the sun and sand – I noticed other people taking pictures of their families, and I had to cringe. I resisted the urge to get up and walk over to people to tell them what they were doing wrong and how to do it better.
I saw -
- People posing their families with faces directly to the sun, eyes squinting – even shielding their eyes with their hands.
- Folks shooting their families with their backs to the sun, but no hint of fill light (no reflector, no flash).
- Moms taking pictures of their toddlers’ first visits to the ocean – babies sitting at the water’s edge with moms standing up and shooting down at the kids.
- Folks with mid-range consumer dSLR cameras taking pictures of large scenes at night with the pop-up flash on the camera.
- Friends and families gathered around large tables in restaurants with someone taking a picture of the group from one end of the table.
I would like to address these common mistakes and offer corrective actions for them.
- A rule of thumb – don’t pose people facing directly into the sun. It is uncomfortable and unflattering. If you insist on doing that, wait until very late in the day when the sun has just about gone down.
- If you have your subject with her back to the sun, most point and shoot cameras or dSLRs set on an automatic setting are going to underexpose your subject. Use the manual override on your camera, or find the proper menu setting, to get some fill light from your flash.
- When taking pictures of your kids, get down to their level. Shoot from the child’s point of view. Don’t shoot down on them.
- The flash built into your camera – whether a pop-up on your Nikon or Canon dSLR or the automatic on your point and shoot – will not illuminate a landscape. You will over-light the foreground and the background will go dark if you use everything on automatic.
- The above applies to taking pictures of groups of people, too. Don’t try shoot end to end. Shoot from the side, and stand back. Your flash will light more evenly and not make the folks in the background fade to black.
On another note, we HAVE to get away from the family beach photos of everyone dressed in khaki pants and white shirts posing on the sand dunes and sea oats. I know it is pretty, and “classic” looking, but it has become trite and cliched. I can’t count how many family groups did this exact same set up while we were on vacation. It has become an expected photograph, and, in my not so humble opinion, it must stop. Yes, we are as guilty of it as everyone else. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a cliche.
All that said, it was a fun vacation. I enjoyed spending time with the family, and really didn’t stress out about Other People’s Photography Habits as it appears.
Time for the annual and traditional summer vacation! Unlike last year’s incredible vacation to St. John in the US Virgin Islands, my beautiful wife and I are headed to Panama City Beach with her side of the family (her mother, father, brother, and our 2 nephews).
Last vacation I worked on travel and landscape photography, two genres of photography at which I am not adept. I really tried to capture a sense of place and show off the beauty of the St. John, and I think I was moderately successful, though not as successful as I hope to be.
This vacation I will be working on my documentary and portrait skills. I want to tell a story about the vacation, show the family playing, lounging, swimming, and “vacationing”, as well as get some really good portraits of my family (especially the maw and paw in law). My wife has even given me permission to do a beachside bikini photo shoot! I used Model Mayhem and have lined up a few interested young ladies for that shoot.
This morning, the folks over at Photojojo.com updated their blog with an article about road trip photography with a link to a trip planner on roadsideamerica.com. I am going to make an effort to get in a few photos of the suggested road side attractions they have listed.
Watch for vacation shots posted on my Flickr page next week!
Have you tried a Bushwacker? Someone told me they’re sometimes called Mudslides, but I prefer the VI term. A Bushwacker is really simple to make. Try one or two, just don’t plan on driving anywhere or operating heavy machinery.
Equal parts each of:
- Coconut Rum
Add some ice, and blend.
Talisa (my wife) and I are taking our first vacation together – just the 2 of us – in 12 years. We’ll be heading for a week in sleepy, lazy, beautiful St. John, USVI.
I can’t begin to express how excited I am about this trip. When we first visited the US Virgin Islands in April of 2007 (a half day stop over on our Carnival Cruise) we were immediately infatuated with the place and knew we’d have to come back for a real vacation – not just a half day visit.
So now begins the countdown…
We did a lot of reasearch about where to stay, what to do, what to see, and made our reservations.
We’ll be staying at a quaint and affordable villa called Serendip. It is affordable because summer vacation time here in the 48 contiguous states is off-season in the Virgin Islands. The owner, Ted Johnson, has been very kind and helpful, and has told me there is a very good BBQ restaurant on the island. That is a challenge. I’m Southern born and raised, and I LOVE BBQ. I look forward to this challenge. Ted has even arranged for our Jeep rental when we get to Saint John.
My work, home, and laptop computers have Virgin Islands wallpaper, and my digital photo frame on my desk at work scrolls through about 20 pictures of St. John and surroundings (thanks Flickr!
Since this is supposed to be a photography blog – I have little experience with travel, landscape, and nature photography. I am actually nervous about my ability to capture the spirit and soul of our vacation and the island. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I want to make sure they’re really nice words.
I’ll be working on my low-light, wide angle, funky lenses, and composition over the next 6 weeks to make sure my photographic skills are up to the challenge.
So now I wait…