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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The travel photography/holiday balance.


I've just come back from a whirlwind trip up to Japan. My wife had a few days off in a row so we decided to quickly pop up there to say hello to her Dad and give the kids a bit of a holiday. This is my youngest son Keyra playing with fireworks in the local park behind his Grandad's house.

Family holidays are difficult times for travel photographers, well for any serious photographer whether professional or amateur I guess. That desire to photograph all the amazing things that you see often clashes with your family's desire for you to spend more time with them.

Photography is by its nature a solo pursuit. I find it very difficult to get any good photographs in a group situation - say a camera club trip - or any situation where I don't have total freedom as to where I go and what I photograph. I find it just makes it very frustrating.

And I used to take that frustration out on my family. I would want to wander off and photograph something, or  hang around in one spot for longer waiting for the perfect opportunity, whilst they wanted to keep going.

It was a constant source of tension until I just decided to let it go. When I'm working I resign myself to the fact that I can never photograph all the amazing things I see and do. It's just not possible. So I took that same attitude over to my family holidays.

I know some photographers who schedule days and times that they can go out by themselves and satisfy their photographic muse, but to be honest with you after a day of running around with the family I'm too buggered to go out and photograph for myself.

I sometimes schedule time off for myself if we're in one place for a long time, like trips back to Sapporo. But otherwise I become more of an opportunist photographer. I get grab shots here and there and spend the majority of the time photographing my kids, something I never do at home. I know, terrible photographer father.

So if your better half is giving you grief about all the time you spend looking through the viewfinder whilst on holiday maybe it's time to put the camera down for a bit. Or point it at the ones you love. Our kids grow up so quick that I'm sure I will be kicking myself twenty years down the track if I don't try and capture their youth. Plus it saves me getting yelled at too much!

2 comments:

CountryMouse said...

You are so right. Not that I take photos for a job but I find it all works out better when a deal or routine is made. Mine normally involves me having my own, photo time, at sunrise and sunset if I can and all the time in the middle is family time. I usually take a camera everywhere though so snaps can be taken in the middle but not in the same quiet, me time way. I do find traveling and photo taking don't really mesh well when it is with my partner, he gets sick of waiting for me, but my family just leave me to it or join in.

Paul Dymond said...

It's always a bit of a tightrope, mostly caused by our own expectations of the images we want to take, and the frustration we feel when it turns out we can't. Sometimes you just have to let it go.