Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vacation Mode

Tuscan Sky

Here are some long-overdue pics from our trip to Italy this summer! Gives me a good opportunity to write about vacation photography, and what I realized on that trip.

Sunset over Florence

Of course, I brought way too much gear on this trip. Camera and a few lenses (OK, all of my lenses!), a flash (OK, two flashes), a compact tripod, compact light stand with umbrella, batteries, cards, and a light meter. Ridiculous...I could have shot a wedding there and still had unused gear! What I actually used: camera, my one zoom lens (24-105 mm), and all the memory cards. Used the tripod about four times. Used the lighting gear exactly zero times!

Amalfi Coast

I really wasn't thinking about photography the same way when I was there. I was not in "photoshoot" mode; I was in vacation mode. In vacation mode, there is less thought given to lighting and posing, and more thought given to wine, and food, and fun! My only real philosophy was to take my camera with me pretty much everywhere we went. Sure I looked like a tourist, but I was a tourist! Used that one lens for every shot. Took a picture of everything I thought looked good. Took the camera on motorboats, rowboats, trains, bikes, chairlifts. Took it everywhere we walked. Took it to restaurants, bars, beaches, late night gelato-eating missions. There was no pressure to make pictures look perfect; I just enjoyed shooting whatever I wanted.


I was never sorry for taking the camera with me. If it was in the way I would put it down under the table, or strap it over my shoulder for walks--I even let the guy driving our little tour boat hold it for a while when we jumped in the water off the coast of Capri to swim in one of the grottoes (that's a big step for me, the camera holding, not the swimming!) I didn't bring a crazy camera along to leave it in the hotel room, or so I could take it out and babysit it. It doesn't take pictures by itself when it's in a protective case with the lens cap on. And guess what...the camera made it back home unscathed, and now we have tons of great memories to look at again and again!

Hanging out
(The tripod did come in handy for this shot in our hotel!)

So lesson learned for the next vacation: bring less stuff! Camera with zoom lens, memory cards, battery charger...and maybe the little tripod too!

More to come from Italy...

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