July 21st, 2014

Capture those holiday memories

As we all know, summer here in Canada is fleeting.

The summer action shot always makes a great photo. But sometimes, the summer ‘inaction’ shot is even better.

The summer action shot always makes a great photo. But sometimes, the summer ‘inaction’ shot is even better.

We spend three soggy seasons waiting for warm, sunny weather to arrive and once it does we have absolutely no guarantee how long it will last. So once it’s finally upon us, the race is on to fill every second with one of the many fun-filled outdoor activities we’ve spent three quarters of the year yearning for.

While we’re busy making all this fun happen in a very finite timeframe, it can sometimes be easy to forget one very simple yet important part of vacationing: taking pictures. Sure, everyone takes tons of photos during those faraway mega-vacations to Europe or Disneyland. But those local “stay-cation” getaways to the cabin or the campground occur just routinely enough that capturing the moment can gradually start to slip down the priority list. As much fun as they are, by the third or fourth visit in three months, the family vacation property or campsite starts to feel like home—and it always seems like there’s less urgency to take photos at home.

Neighbourhood parks can be just as much fun as a resort.  When the moment comes for an awesome photo, just take it.

Neighbourhood parks can be just as much fun as a resort. When the moment comes for an awesome photo, just take it.

Which is unfortunate, because these little vacations cumulatively add up to form a big chunk of family memories. Kids learn to swim, make lasting friendships and generally grow as people much more during these frequent short summer getaways than during an annual or semi-annual trip to Maui or Mexico. So if anything, they deserve more of our photographic attention. Hey, no two cookouts or canoe trips are the same—so why do we think one or two representative photos will suffice? While you’re on vacation, snap away. You can always delete any redundant photos once you get home.

Which brings up another important point: technologically speaking, photography is more convenient than ever. Especially now that seemingly everyone has a smartphone or tablet within arm’s reach 24-7. Personally, I sometimes get the feeling that my parents took more holiday photos of me as a kid with their point-and-shoot film cameras than I take of my own kids even though these days my iPhone and iPad are pretty much grafted to my hands.

But the point of this post is not to steer you toward any particular device: it doesn’t matter if your camera is a digital SLR, compact, point-and-shoot, i-Something, or even a good old-fashioned disposable film camera. The point is that whatever camera you prefer, use it to prevent those amazing summer memories from slipping away.

In fact, those memories don’t even need to be ‘vacations’, per se: day trips to local attractions, an afternoon at the nearest beach or even a simple evening walk to get an ice cream cone all make for the kind of pictures that bring a smile to one’s face for years to come.

Summer evenings provide just as many magical photo-ops as summer days.

Summer evenings provide just as many magical photo-ops as summer days.

And though it’s a familiar refrain on this blog, it bears mentioning again: you don’t need to a ‘professional-quality’ photographer. In fact, you don’t even need to be, as the term goes, ‘good’. Just keep taking those pictures. The ‘good’ will come. However, if you feel like you really need some tips on taking great vacation photos there’s definitely no shortage of them online. But like I said, since summer is on and time’s already a wastin’, here are some great references to get started:

This fall, you’ll be able to look back on your summer in photos; visual evidence that, while it was here at least, you and your family made the most of the sunshine.

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