After people photography, my very close second favorite is travel photography. To me, travel photography captures the uniqueness of whatever location you find yourself. Everything is different from your usual environment, so it's easy to get inspired by all the new photo subjects around you. I've been lucky enough to travel around the world and even resided in Bavaria for six years. I have lots of photos of neat places.
A great way to combine these two subjects is family vacation photography. I get to take photos of my favorite people, usually visiting new places. I always try to throw in some travel photography while I'm there, but my primary focus is on memories of our vacation. My vacation photos tend to be very snapshot-ish, and I'm OK with that.
Over the last couple of weeks, we found ourselves on just such a family vacation. We drove up to Wisconsin for a first-ever family reunion for my mother's side of the family. It didn't start quite the way I had it planned. When I'm driving, I like to go until I'm really tired, or we arrive at our destination. I just don't want to waste good vacation time on the road. I'll admit, sometimes, this need to keep the road trip as short as possible can get extreme (my personal best is 3,600 miles in three days, with three kids and a very understanding wife). So, this time my family conspired against me and demanded a much more leisurely pace - we took three days to drive 1,000 miles - with predetermined stops along the way. OMG! I thought I could beat them down, but it turns out, once kids become adults with their own families, they believe they have a vote on the trip. ;-) Our kids and their families joined us from three states (Maryland, Massachusetts, and Alaska) for the trip.We had a great time, despite the slower pace.
Yes, I went out and shot some nice foggy lake photos and some old houses and barn photos. My favorites shots, though, were family related, like this one of an uncle getting silly with his nephew.
We had the traditional, family poker game, at midnight (the ladies won, again). We took the grandkids to the same cheese factory we took their parents. Everyone needed some squeaky cheese.
Go-carts, swimming, putt-putt, rock climbing, and ropes courses. Our five-year-old granddaughter bravely maneuvered all the ropes (up to 40 feet high). They even foolishly made a bet that I wouldn't follow her up there.
So, take your camera with you on vacation. Shoot lots of family photos. Just make sure you get in a few of them. Back up and keep those vacation snapshots as safe as your favorite art photographs. Down the road, these snapshots will be more important to you and them. You'll find it gets harder and harder to get everyone together for the mandatory family photo.
[Photo of me on ropes taken by Andy Vasquez; photo of our family taken by Shirley Dallman.]