When packing for a trip, my biggest debate is whether to take my big camera, my DSLR--not what clothes to take. My beloved #SonyA7RII is heavier, more cumbersome, requires a separate backpack, and I wouldn't want anything to happen to it. Having a point & shoot would be nice, but I would give up control of the shot. No control with a camera phone and because I have an older iPhone, that's not really a consideration anyway. The newer phones have wonderful cameras, but still not like having the control and quality of a separate, dedicated camera.
Our family takes vacations about once a year and they're saved for, planned and executed with great consideration and thought. So why wouldn't I pack the right camera and gear to capture our family vacations? Not only do I want to remember us in those places, but I want to be able to look back at the photos and remember the girls at their ages and stages, what we enjoyed doing on the trip, whether my husband looked relaxed and disconnected from work, our togetherness, and also the beautiful scenery. Nine times out of ten, my DSLR comes along.
Because I make the effort to pack it, I also make the effort to carry it around and photograph people, places and experiences. I tend to notice the little things that are unique to that location as well as the big things that commonly draw people there. Looking at new things as a photographer and through the lens of a camera is much different than how an untrained eye sees. I notice the light, the darkness, the color, the composition of the landscape, the presentation, the background, the texture, the clarity. Most importantly, I stop and really look around and for extended periods of time. This greatly enhances my experiences on vacation of all that I do and all that I see. I'm more mindful of the people, places and things. As an added bonus, I'm also learning how to be a better photographer because I'm always challenged to capture images beautifully.
We just returned from Grand Cayman which was our graduation gift to our high school daughter. I didn't carry my camera everywhere and I wish I had. I didn't photograph our family as much as I would've liked because our 18 and 21 yr old daughters don't want to be captured unless looking their best...except on Snapchat...don't get me started on that soapbox. However, this was a beautiful place, paradise, and I noticed some little things that most probably didn't. Here are some images I captured that really made me look closely and consider many things: all the colors (buildings, ocean, sun, clouds, sky); sunsets--in entirety--and how the light illuminates the surf bubbles and sand particles; the sideways cross in the sunset; the architecture of the building, (we stayed at The Meridian in Villa #12, on Seven Mile Beach, and it was fabulous, one of the nicest places I've ever stayed!); a full moon viewed through palm branches; a sunset sail; cute, little sandcrabs that were everywhere; how the glass table on the screened patio reflected the beauty of the view each morning as I had my coffee; gorgeous plants and flowers everywhere; not many shells on the beach but rather these fossill looking rocks and this one reminded me of a heart, and so much more.
If you ever have the desire or opportunity to go to Grand Cayman, I highly recommend it. It's a small piece of paradise in the gorgeous Caribbean. And no matter where you go this summer or anytime throughout the year, make an effort to notice all the beauty and capture your best images with your best camera. I'm glad I packed my big camera and noticed so many things. Beautiful vacation, captured. My life, pictured.