We, us photographers, probably all know that feeling that we want to take our beloved photography with us on a holiday. We want to come back with photographs different from the mainstream. We either take too much equipments with us, much to the annoince of the family members. We take too many photographs of the same subjects that others don’t understand, or are not interested in. We look too hard for stories, we try too hard to be different.
We look forward to take great photographs, we prepare ourselves extensively to see what can be photographed and what is compelling. But you know, it never works that way. Your partner wants to have a break too, she or he actually wants to enjoy the holiday. The kids needs attention, and quite a lot as they are entitled to.
This weekend we, our family, spent a great time in a pony park. That means that we were off the entire day with a pony and kids, and walked around the park. It is a paradise for kids and a photographers nightmare. So I tried to focus on my creativity in between the limited time.
I had both my Ricoh GX200 and the Sigma DP1 with me. While the DP1 gives beautiful photographs with some depth, it wasn’t the easiest camera to use. You need to think more, the autofocus is too slow, and zone-focusing not always that easy in ever changing situations.
The GX200 with the smaller sensor gives great depth of field. And in combination with the snap mode it becomes a really fast camera. The combination of both cameras proved sufficient for the holiday. When the time is available I would get the DP1, and otherwise I took the GX200.
The cameras were small enough to be hardly noticed. They were small enough to reach for the kids or the pony when ever needed. And the cameras were small enough to not look like a photographer too.
While I didn’t want to get away with just snap shooting for the sake of the family album, I didn’t want to be too much in the photography mood either. I wanted to participate in the enthusiasm of my kids and wife. I wanted to be there for them.
And we had a great weekend. The kids were pony riding the entire weekend. My son went to bingo nights, met Zorro, and we even played “midget golf” (mini-golf for the political correct – thanks Nathalie).
My wife even had some time for herself.
Picking up the pony at the beginning of the morning was good fun and the ponies loved the attention from the kids.
My daughter felt so familiar with the ponies, she could use them as sofas too. And great photo opportunities for her dad too.
While my daughter and I were following a lesson my wife had some time to relax and photograph too with her cellular phone.
And I had the opportunity to do some little horse back riding myself, much to the enjoyment of the kids.
So, be realistic. Of course it is great to come back from a holiday with great photographs. But enjoy the family life too, and let your family have fun too. There remain so many opportunities to photograph outside the holiday.
When you are part of the kid’s excitement the photography will come too.
And a final photograph of my young daughter with pony Jul, our loyal companion for the weekend.
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma