Summer Vacation – Telling Your Story

Whether your getting ready for a summer vacation away from home or a weekend trip close to home, you plan all the things your going to need for the trip.  For instance, a week at the beach house, you might bring bathing suits, towels, sun block, and something for the sunburns, just in case one gets too much sun.  And of course you will want to bring a camera to capture those moments.

What story do you want to tell with your photographs?  What is unique about this summer trip?  By taking some time to plan your photographic story, you will end up with more photographs with the “wow” factor and really capture the spirit of your summer trip.

To tell any good story, its needs four elements.  Plot.  Character.  Setting.  Details.  This holds true for photography as well.   Here is how you can incorporate story telling while taking photographs.

  1. Plot – What action is taking place?  Is there a tension or conflict in the story?  What is important to the story?  Perhaps this summer trip is a family reunion.  Or the first trip for a toddler.
  2. Character – What is unique about the person you are photographing?  I know I have an uncle who loves to entertain the kids at Christmas in-between opening presents.
  3. Setting – What is important about your surroundings?  What is unique?  I know someone who traveled abroad and they had an outdoor shower with an amazing view.  Her husband took a wonderful photograph of her using the shower and the view just beyond.
  4. Details – What are the little details that help tell the story?  Like the bucket the children used to build a sand castle on the beach.  You could compose a photograph of the discarded bucket by the sand castle with the children playing on the beach in the distance.

Once you have arrived at your summer destination, here are some tips for capturing your summer story in pictures.

  • Leave the camera behind.  If you’re going to be there for a week, leave the camera behind for the first two days.  Spend this time just enjoying the atmosphere with your family.  If you do this, once you do whip out your camera, your family will probably be more cooperative with you taking pictures and may be less prone to whining about you being behind the camera all the time.
  • With your camera packed away, take the time to make some observations about your surroundings.  This will help you plan out your shots when you do have your camera in hand.
  • Choose the day, time and location for your photographs carefully.  Take the photograph we mentioned earlier of the bucket the children used to build the sand castle.  This photograph will have more “wow” factor at sunset with less people on the beach versus the middle of the afternoon when the sun is high and there are a lot of people on the beach.
  • Be prepared to come back when the timing is right for that perfect photograph.

Here’s one story I have captured this summer.  I have digitally scrapped this story and it was easy to do since I knew ahead of time what I wanted to photograph.

Create multimedia digital scrapbooks for free at Scrapblog. Print your creations into high quality keepsake books, soft cover books, greeting cards, and post cards.

Scrap pages were created at

You can have better photographs by thinking about the photograph you want to capture ahead of time.  And don’t forget to get yourself in the photograph.  These techniques can also be used for capturing those photographs for Summer Stock Sunday hosted by Robin over at Around the Island.  Click on over to see more photographs on this Summer Stock Sunday.

Do you have past summer vacations on video, why not have them transferred over to DVD.

iMemories - Preserve Your Memories on DVD

{POTD} All Photographs are Monochrome {Weekly}

Since the beginning of Photography, photographs have been recorded in black and white.  Originally, a photographer would open the lens and expose the film to light.  The film would simply record areas of light and areas of no light.  It wasn’t until the recorded image was processed in the darkroom that color would be introduced onto the photograph.   This still holds true for digital cameras today.  The sensor inside your digital camera, like traditional film, is also sensitive to light.  When you press the button on your digital camera, the shutter opens and exposes your pixels on your sensor to light.  The sensor then assigns a value (1-256) to each pixel to indicate the brightness of the scene captured through the lens. 


Understanding how my camera records what I see has helped me to better understand how to photograph a good black and white photograph.  Through my new found knowledge, I am looking at scenes through my lens in a whole new light (pun intended.)  Just this past week we had some monsoon storms pass through the desert and weather is always an eye catching image to photograph, at least for me anyways.  Here is one of the photographs I composed for my submission to Monochrome WeeklyTell me what you think.



To view more Monochrome Weekly photographs, click on over and check them out.  And if you would like to submit your black and white photographs, then add your link to Mr Linky on Ailene’s site as well.


{POTD} Blog Hop Photo Fav

This week Mr. Linky is hosting a Blog Hop entitled, “Favorite Photo.”  My Favorite Photo from recent photographs has got to be this one I snapped this past weekend at Legoland.  My family and I were waiting in line to get on a ride.  My son was bored standing there so he asked me for the map of the park.  As he is looking at the map he is trying to decide which ride to go on next.  This is one of those moments when I am so thankfully I looked like  geek and had my camera hanging from my neck.

CJ reads the Legoland map

CJ reads the Legoland map

MckLinky Blog Hop

Click here to enter your link in the blog hop and view the entire list of entered links…

Beyond the Backyard

My children are bouncing with energy now that school is out for the summer.  Its only day one and already they are driving me crazy.  Trying to get work done while the kids are home is nearly impossible and drags on for many hours.  This afternoon a Shutter Sister suggested I go into my backyard in search of magic.

Well my backyard is a desert weed wasteland and generally lacking in photographic interest for me.  I do however tend to a small garden in my front yard as it is somewhat shaded from the searing heat during the summer months.  I have a colorful variety of Autumn Sage growing.  I love the smell of the sage as I am watering.  The Autumn Sage was like aromatherapy for me today.  To complete my therapy I grabbed my camera, laid down on the ground and just started taking pictures.  A calming peace began to surround me.

The chirping birds called me away from my dainty flowers and encouraged me to explore new wonders in my yard.  As I was shuttering away in my yard, creative ideas started to flow through my mind.  New creations incorporating some photos began to take shape.  Quickly I jotted them down on paper to save until tomorrow.

This is Beyond my Backyard…

Twin Whites

Twin Whites

i heart rocks

i heart rocks

If you would like to see what other Shutter Sisters have posted from their backyards, click on over to Shutter Sisters and check them out.  Or better yet, get in on the fun and post some of your own.

Picture of the Day 6/11/09

Earlier this morning as I read the daily influx of emails, a truck pulled up outside, and then I heard footsteps.  It was a delivery.  I started to get excited that perhaps FedEx had arrived a day early with the camera.  Suddenly the day was looking very exciting.  Unfortunately, it was just my UPS driver with a package for my hubby.

Speaking of hubby, I thought I would share the envelope my son brought home from school yesterday.  CJ made a Father’s Day gift as they wind down the school year.  I have no idea what is inside, CJ tells me, “It’s a secret.” so I will just hve to wait until dad opens it.

I Love Dad

I Love Dad

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Father's Day

Yesterday I ordered some personalized Father’s Day gifts on-line.  CJ helped me pick out a shirt for dad and he will get a matching shirt just for him.  I can’t wait to take pictures of father and son wearing matching “Tool Guy” shirts.  And for my step-dad I ordered a mouse pad personalized with a fun picture of the grand-kids.  Sure to bring smiles to all.

Wishing everyone a scent-stional day!

Picture of the Day 6/10/09

I feel lost and lonely today as I have no digital camera to take pictures with today.  But today’s picture of the day is a picture of the camera I have ordered as my replacement.  I can hardly wait til Friday.

Soon to be new toy!

Soon to be new toy!

Though I almost had a heart attack last night.  I ordered my camera on-line because I got a cool deal through since I am a student of the New York Institute of Photography (NYIP).  Then I got an email and a message to confirm my order and shipping choices.  So I call up Ritz Camera and naturally “all operators are busy at this time helping other customers.”  Then the recording says I can chat on-line with a live person.  Cool, back to the Internet I travel.

Carol was a big help but obviously trying to hard at multi-tasking because she told me my camera was out of stock and would not be in for 3 weeks.  I instantly replied, “You’ve got to be kidding, the website said it was in stock!”  A few moments of cyber silence followed and now my brain is wondering how the frell I am going to take pictures of the graduation Friday night if I have no camera.  Carol immediately apologized to me when she realized she had typed that info to the wrong person.  Whew!

I guess the minor heart attack was worth it because Carol offered me the ESP at 50% off.  I told her it would be even better if she could give me 50% off my entire purchase.  Well at least I made her laugh.  As for well, I will occupy my non-camera time with reading since I just received my second Unit of lessons from NYIP.  By the time my camera gets here I will have a list of photographs to compose.  Aren’t you the lucky ones!

Quick Tips for taking good pictures

I love seeing all the pictures my friends will post on various social networking sites I subscribe to.  But why do people post pictures that are too dark and you can’t see the people or the picture is really blurry and out of focus.  So to all you picture posters out there, I offer you a few tips on taking better pictures.

  • Get Down.  (and I don’t mean “get down and boogie!)  With kids and pets you can take some great photos if you get down on their level.
  • Use a plain background (if possible).  A busy background can be quite a distraction when viewing the finished picture.  If you do have a busy background try to keep it out of focus.
  • Use the flash outdoors.  The flash will light up the front of your subject if there is not enough light (sunset) or when there is too much light and the sun is casting a shadow on your subject
  • Get Close (make sure you brushed your teeth.)  You want to fill the viewfinder or LCD screen with your subject.  Either zoom in or physically get closer.
  • Lock the focus.  To do this, focus on your main subject, press down the shutter button half way and hold, get your whole picture lined up and then press the shutter down all the way
  • Read the instruction manual.  (No brainer, right?)  Many cameras are built and marketed with proprietary features so get to know all that your camera can do for you.  Spend an hour or so reading and trying out the various functions.
  • Indoor pictures.  Don’t point your camera at a window with lots of sunlight coming through.  Your camera’s flash won’t trigger because of the bright light and again your subjects will be left in the dark.  Either override the autoflash and/or move yourself so that you are not pointing the camera at the window.
  • If you are outside, do your friends a favor and don’t face them into the sun when you are taking a picture.  They will be sure to squint and this could ruin the picture.
  • Firmly plant your feet on the ground.  That is about a foot a part,  and hold the camera with 2 hands.  This will reduce the chance of blurry pictures.