Dad having morning coffee by our truck camper

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THE MAKING OF A GOOD MEMORIAL / VACATION OUTING PHOTO

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed. “ ~ Ansel Adams


A good vacation / outing photo is one that makes the viewer come away with some emotion. Whether that is of wonderment, joy, sadness, etc; we should not view a photo as just a recording of an event or scene. When we look at a photo, it should spark our imagination or take us back to a memorial time. Photos are records of our lives. When recording simple family outings, not every photo needs to be of artistic grandure, but we do need some elements in the photo to help us remember that time or event.

Some things to watch for:


1. Most important people in our lives – Did we include Grandma or Grandpa?


2. Surroundings – Was the event at a special location?


3. Lighting – Is the sun or shade going to help or hurt the photo? Do I need flash for fill, or should I include the shade of a picnic shelter or tree to block harsh lighting.


4. Other objects that tell the story – Campfire, lake, mountains, swimming pool, etc.


The photo above is not one of any great artistic value. In fact is was taken by me at age 7 or 8, in the mid 1970’s using a sea-foam green Savoy that only shot 600 speed film (which went out of production long before the camera quit working). The photo is old and faded and suffered the elements of time – but what this photo reminds me of:


My dad enjoyed camping, in fact we went every weekend. In this particular trip, my dad had converted our pickup truck into a camper by making bench seats that also provided for storage. My mom took some foam and hand-sewed fabric over them to make mattresses for the bench seats. At night the “camper” was cold and damp, often making us use an electric heater to take out the moisture while we were snug in our heavy sleeping bags. Here we are sitting at a camping area in Maine. My dad enjoying his morning coffee, was being nudged by our dog who always wanted to be taken for a walk.


At age 7 or 8, I was not thinking of the elements in the photo that would spark a memory, but what is in the picture did help remind me over the years:


1. Dad having his morning coffee, and our dog.


2. Back end of dad’s truck with the aluminum shell.


3. Folding chairs and cooler.


4.Pine trees as a backdrop, which grow abundantly in Maine.

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