I spotted an interesting article on the BBC website today about the way people use cameras on holiday, asking the question does taking photographs devalue the actual experience. You can see the article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-23490926.
I regard holidays as very much family time. My wife and children have to put up with my odd working hours, and frequent absences at weekends when I am attending shows for 50 weeks of the year. I try to give them priority when we are on holiday. That being said, I do love taking photographs, and I like to have images to look at to remind us of enjoyable times and interesting places - so I do carry a camera with me. On recent trips this has tended to be my "second" camera - a Canon 5D Mark II, with one lens - a 24-70L. Unless there is something specific where a tripod will be necessary, I do not take one.
I also change the way I take pictures when I am on holiday. My objective is to capture what we have experienced rather than to strive to take pictures to add to my portfolio. On the other hand, I do like to have one or two images which would be suitable for display on our walls should we choose to do so. I will "tweak" the programme a little from time to time to give me the opportunity to take photos I would be happy to include in my portfolio.
A good example of this occurred on a trip to New York last year. We bought a three day New York pass to allow us to visit key attractions in the city. My "tweak" was to plan that we would visit the Top of the Rock at dusk on the day with the best weather out of the three. this took a little planning - what time is sunset, and where can I find a three day weather forecast. However, the family were happy - if the view looked good to me, it would look good to everybody, and it didnt stop us from doing anything else we had planned.
I wasn't carrying a tripod on this trip, and there would have been no space to use it. When we arrived, the observation deck was packed. Surprisingly as the light levels dropped to give the crossover lighting I love to use at dusk the crowds thinned. I was able to find a spot by one of the flat concrete posts holding the barrier glass panels and use it as a camera support. The resulting stitched panorama is this image:
It is often the case that good planning combined with a touch of good fortune can give a special image. In this case, the broken cloud pattern was exactly what I was looking for, with the unexpected bonus of the rising moon on the left of the photograph, and the last light of the day from the right. This photograph is displayed as a large box frame print in my home and to me encapsulated a magical few days in a vibrant and exciting city.
You can see a larger version of this photograph in the "Other" gallery (http://www.fotocraftimages.co.uk/other), and copies of it can be purchased.
Moving forward almost exactly a year, we have just spent a few days in mid Wales, staying in a very comfortable and well equipped cottage in Dolgellau. I was keen to climb Cader Idris while we were there, and my family were happy to spend a day walking up the pony path from Ty-Nant. After the recent heatwave broke the weather has been more mixed. We tried to choose the best day for the walk, but there was no guarantee of views. Part way up the hill the clouds came down, and it seemed this type of photo would be the best from the day:
Fortunately this was in fact the worst of the day, and as we climbed the cloud lifted giving some spectacular views down into Cader Idris' corries, and along the ridge line towards the coast at Barmouth. These are two examples of photos taken from high on the flanks of this impressive Welsh mountain:
I haven't yet printed any of these photos for display at home, but after reviewing the images on screen, I decided that a number of the photos from the trip did justify a more permanent presence on the Fotocraft images website - hence the new Wales gallery on the site (http://www.fotocraftimages.co.uk/wales).
So my conclusion on the isssue of take photos or not on holiday - yes take photos, but don't allow the photography to dominate the holiday - that woudn't be fair on the rest of the family.