Pleasure Trips and Work Trips: Why I Won’t Take My Camera Again on Vacation

Not What We Expected

Not What We Expected


Sometimes, being a photographer can get in the way.


I recently went with my older brother on a trip to the American southwest.  We are both photographers, although he is smart and kept his day-job.  The objective was to see the sights, snap a few pictures, get to know each other more.  We managed to do all three, but very soon into the trip we realized our expectations for the photography were a little high.  In fact, we didn’t even take out our cameras for the first four days. 


This was not because the scenery was boring or the weather was bad; au contraire, we were blessed with balmy, sunny days while back home our families slogged through screaming blizzards and endured plummeting temperatures.  No, I learned on that trip that to give proper due to the art of photography—when you know you can do more than just record a snap of that iconic scene—you must make photography a priority.  Making photography a priority entails a change in attitude and work ethic.  It means that you:


·         research weather, sunrise/sunset times, and possible subjects before you even step onto a plane;

·         scout a location for directional light and potential photographs and make a plan to come back at multiple later points to capture your pre-envisioned scene;

·         stay in one place for as long as it takes to get the images you seek;

·         don’t party!  early to rise means pre-dawn with enough time to drive to your location before the sun lightens the sky; and

·         get off the road, hike around, hire guides, and explore during daylight hours potential locations.


In short, a working trip with a single focus.  Forget touristy stuff—there is often little time unless you budget such things into the length of your trip.


Perhaps some people are better at switching from relaxation to work—or perhaps they never really relax and enjoy a vacation, always on the lookout for the next image.  I found that I like to be passionate about my work OR about my vacation.  But to try and do each well was difficult and ultimately led to frustration as we missed a sunrise here and a sunset there, arriving too late and with no scouting done in advance to find that perfect viewpoint.


And lugging a full camera pack and tripod up to your hotel room every day can be wearying after a few days!!


On the plus side, my brother and I learned a heck of a lot about each other–and we’re still talking after two weeks in a hot car in the desert!



~ by Samantha on March 31, 2009.

One Response to “Pleasure Trips and Work Trips: Why I Won’t Take My Camera Again on Vacation”

  1. A photo of your day with your brother, can be just a photo. If an artist can’t take a photo to capture the moments of life that pass on by then maybe you can record your voice or take a pen to describe the moment. That way in 20 years, you will have something to help your cloudy mind reflect your experiences.

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