Family trips are a golden opportunity for most people like me to indulge in photography as well as have some time with family. Even if it is another city next to mine or an exotic holiday destination, photo-opportunities abound. In the language of management gurus, such trips give access to low hanging fruits, the ease to create photographs of something different.
For a person living next to sea, seascapes are no longer interesting. Another person residing in city hates the cement forest. Exchange their locations and both of them start clicking photos. A change of place makes a huge difference. It opens up the mind to see new things. All the worries are left behind.
A lot of us take these much needed holidays with our families. Our spouse, kids, parents and sometime even far off relatives accompany us on these trips. It is fun spending the time together. I have been trying to combine all my family trips with photography walks. I carry around a camera bag, which was even used to store new diapers for my daughter, just in case.
I click photos of the images that I visualize and I also click pictures of my family. Some of the best keepers that I have are of my daughter and my wife.
(I had lunch in a Bamboo Hut on one of my family trips. Even the roof of that hut was an interesting subject for me. Nikon D200 with Nikkor 18-35mm lens, f/3.5, shutter speed 1/13 sec)
One of the challenges that I have faced while combining family trips and photography is the ‘challenge of limitations’. I can not carry enough equipment. Sometimes not even a tripod or a spare lens. Not that I am complaining. This has made me into a better photographer by using my available equipment to the maximum. I get to see things within the limitations of the equipment that I have and suddenly the limitation vanishes. The images start to appear before me as I would see them through my camera. Another limitation is the time. My family wants to keep on walking and enjoying which gives me very little time to linger around and compose my thoughts. I do miss many interesting photos but again this has taught me to know my camera well and be quick in visualizing and making my photographs.
Quite frequently my family members add that missing human touch to otherwise mundane shots. Their images tell vast stories too. In a trip that I took sometime back with my family to a sea-side holiday destination, my daughter was overjoyed to see the vast expanse of the water and sands. For her this was the biggest sand-box that she had come across where she could build all kinds of castles.
(Nikon Df, Nikkor 50mm, f/5.6, 1/100 sec at 100 ISO)
One of the factors that most vacation pictures miss is the photographer itself. I used to have almost no pictures of my own in my family trips pictures. Thankfully my wife started photographing too and now I also appear as a part of my family on these trips.
My advice to those of you planning a combined family trip and serious photography –
- Carry only the essential photography equipment (less than what you think is essential)
- Be a part of at least some of the photographs
- Learn to use your camera and be quick in capturing the images
- Keep your family first and then the photography
- Give time to your family
- Try to go to a place which interests everyone
I had gone to a wonderful town some months back with my family. It had back waters which receded on low tides. The tide timings during my trip was such that I had to be there early in the morning to watch the birds sweep down to grab their food (crabs). After a couple of days of early morning trips, my wife complained about lack of sleep even while on a holiday. I had to give them a day off on the very next morning and I did not plan anything on that day.
(A walk in a park with my family in early autumn. I took this picture while they walked a little behind me. They were collecting chestnuts while I got time to enjoy photography.)
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