This month sees me taking my first transatlantic trip of 2013 and from a travel perspective, its purely pleasure! This does however create a dilemma for me as a photographer. Do I take my professional camera with me and subject my family to 2 weeks of framing shots and waiting for that picture to come along or do I settle for my point and shoot and capture the moment as it comes.
In the past I have always opted for the D-SLR, lenses, bag, filters, etc and and dutifully carried them around fantastic locations and taken a few shots that I would happily show. This does however, take you away from the primary reason for being there. It’s a family holiday. Living life through a lens is one thing but when you’re supposed to be living it with your family, there is always going to be a conflict. Picture the scene, you find a setting you like, you frame the shot, perhaps engage a filter and then suddenly the tour you are on is way down the road and you have to move on. On the other hand, you visit a fantastic location with the most beautiful scenery, vibrant markets and an abundance of things you’ve always wanted to capture and you don’t have the right equipment. Frustration again.
I decided to test this last year on a family holiday and left the D-SLR at home having invested in a drop, shock and waterproof point and shoot Nikon. No camera bag, slid into pocket and with 2 SD cards. I don’t think I even took the charger! The result was interesting. I found I started to restrict myself to shots that i knew the camera was capable of and focused on really getting to grips with its settings. I used the auto function more than I would ever do with a D-SLR, I took, quick, instant and off the cuff shots that I would never have tried with my Canon. The other two results? Firstly, I took over 1100 photos in two weeks, with maybe 100 unusable shots compared with the normal 400 of which 100, I would be happy showing once the set up shots had been removed. Secondly, my family who normally roll their eyes when the camera comes out, relaxed and the photography became secondary and the barrier was removed.
For me, the ability to frame a picture, to be able to imagine the shot and to be ready to capture it when it comes along is far more important than the equipment at hand. On holidays in the past, I have heard many an expensive shutter release at the wrong speed in the wrong light and watched the person walking away, disappointed, knowing that the shot didn’t compare in anyway to what they had in mind. We’ve all done it and when we get back home we end up accompanying the shots with statements such as “this one’s a bit blurred” or “if you look closely, you can just see…”
With the next holiday looming large and expectant faces looking on to see which bag would be coming with us, I was pressed into a decision. The result? no choice really. The point and shoot Nikon wins every time. So this trip, I choose quantity, quality and above all my family. Knowing that the shots I take will have been ones I not only want but will enjoy sharing. It might just be cheaper than a divorce!