I certainly don't have to tell you all that I'm kind of goofy and playful, silly and ridiculous. I'm also an artist at heart, a writer and a psychic, but at the same time highly logic-minded and a very organized virgo. Saying all that, the way I view the world through my camera on trips isn't like most people. I hit the road and I'm not the person who stops and wants a picture of the town hall and typical tourist shots. I can get those damn pics online. Yup, it's a fraggin building. Like a zillion other fraggin buildings...
No, I try to look for the irony in things. Be playful. Look at it as if everything out there is for your entertainment. Don't take a picture of the beautiful people on the beach, take one of the soap box religious zealot waving pamphlets on The Strand and trying to convert everyone. Those are the things I recall about a trip.
The first shot above--at a cemetery--of a person's headstone with the last name "Coffin." I shit you not! IRONY!
The next one, hiking through the woods, tired, taking a breather, look up and there's a tree with a branch shaped like a heart. When I look in the distance, two limbs crossed in a giant "kiss" symbol. Photo op! I will always be able to tell you where that was in the woods and how I felt when I saw it and what it smelled like and the temperature and everything. You ask me about the pictures from Diamond Head in Hawaii and I yawn. Could have been any day while I was on vacation looking up at it from Waikiki Beach. Yada yada yada (yawn again).
On vacations, I don't so much care to see me and the family posed in front of some scenic landmark. I do "feet on vacation" shots that tell the story of the vacation depending on where we're standing and what we're wearing on our feet. It might be bare feet on a beach, feet in fuzzy slippers in cheap shag carpeting in a hotel room, feet hanging on the edge of an overlook. Our feet always get vacation shots!
Sometimes, it's the setting that makes you go "wow!" Julie and I did these shots of each other. I captured Julie in a ray of light coming through a lonely abandoned building. It was so poignant and such a peaceful feeling. I look at it and I recall instantly how those buildings looked and what I thought about and how it smelled and the way the sun felt on our skin coming through the ceiling cracks and holes.
Honestly, I asked Vinnie to see where the tunnels led, but this one was an accident. I backed up to take the shot and realized what it said on the ground. Now, it became a funny shot. I will always remember Vinnie just casually jumping in to inspect the hole and report back as if it were nothing unusual for me to order him to go in dangerous places.
On Julie and I's last trip to finish our book, we walked up a hillside set of stairs to inspect abandoned houses. I stopped where there were a piece of broken concrete with something written on it. It just looked beautiful on the ground and then I pulled it up on my laptop and realized it said "you are amazing." Sometimes, good shots come from serendipity.
The last shot was fun. We were waiting for our amazing Mexican food at the restaurant. I set down my purse and sunglasses and then as I was relaxing and looking around, I realized I could see us in my glasses, so I took a shot to remember us there. Not us sitting at the table, a shot taken by the waitress. Instead, it was as we were there--through the glasses at the table in our little world waiting for our chimichangas.
So, next time you're out on a trip, try not to take the standard shots. You will be greatly rewarded with actual memories. No one ever remembers standing in front of the White House and taking a shot. Oh, they remember they did it while they trudged around DC all day, but they would have remembered the trip more poignantly if they had taken a shot of their kid bent over tying his shoe and mooning the White House.
Humor, irony, ridiculousness, playfulness, artistry... Use them on your trip to have fun and make memories and take photos that will forever capture those moments.
I'm heading on my first vacation in over 2 years soon and I no doubt will get lots more of these bizarre pictures and a story to go along with them to share. You can see San Diego through my eyes and my experience. Don't say I didn't warn you!