Since today is a holiday and it seems like, this year anyway, a lot of people are staying closer to home, I thought it might be a good idea to bring up the subject of the "staycation." What's a "staycation?" You might be wondering, and I'm here to tell you.
The latest trend in travel appears to be catering to those folks who have vacation time but choose, either for economic reasons or otherwise, to stay at home. A "staycation" is when you take time off from work but you don't actually go anywhere-you stay at home instead. It's happening a lot this year, and there are a lot of folks looking for ideas and suggestions of how to make the most out of a "staycation."
My suggestion is: Don't forget the camera!
Now, this might seem a bit odd, I mean, if you're going to stay at home, why break out the camera at all? I mean, why not just leave it tucked away until next year when you can afford that oh-so-special trip to the islands or exotic jaunt to Europe?
Good photos, and great opportunities, never take a vacation. Often, you don't have to stray too far from home to take great pictures either. There's this popular misconception that you have to go someplace exotic to take great pictures. It's nice to go to exotic places, and you can get great pictures when you do, but an exotic location is not a requirement for a great photo. Many of the world's best image makers work in their home studios and it's never a bad idea to "shoot what you know." Sticking closer to home allows you to do just that. With a little luck and some patience, you too might find some great pictures right in your own backyard.
So, I thought it might be a good idea to offer up some tips for those opting to spend a "staycation" or spend their vacation this year a bit closer to home. Here are my suggestions:
- Throw a party-invite friends, family, neighbors, and lots of folks over for a nice dinner, a movie night, whatever, and don't forget the camera. Candid portraits are some of the most fun things you can do and you just might find those wild snapshots of Uncle Jerry hurling popcorn at movie night are way more fun then the typical "posed" portraits with the same old scenery in the background.
- Take a walk-but don't forget your camera. Nature is all around us all of the time. Celebrate you local environment by taking some wonderful natural shots in the garden, by the pond, or in the woods near your house. There's magic in nature, no matter where you live, so celebrate what you have instead of what you think you might be missing. If you're so inclined, maybe even take some time to read up about your local environment, so you can more fully enjoy your surroundings even after you go back to work.
- Take portraits of family and friends-staying home for a week or two might give you just the opportunity to clean up the kids, get the camera out and do your own family portraits. Sure it's great if you can hire a professional or sit for an annual family portrait, but think of how much money and time you'll be saving, not to mention how much fun you could have, if you were to stop and take your holiday portraits now instead of waiting until the busy holiday season.
- Scrapbook old (existing) photos-have a shoebox full of old memories and wonder when you'll ever find the time to go through them all? A "staycation" might just give you a great opportunity to do some scrapbooking and much needed organization of your existing backlog.
- Go digital-try out one of the new "make your own photo book" sites such a Blurb or Lulu. Using a site like this, you can make your very own "coffee table" type book, using your own photos, which will make a great gift come holiday time or even a great keepsake in years to come.
- Visit a state or local park-Camping at a state part nearby offers some unspoiled scenic views and a great opportunity for some summer pictures. You don't have to go very far, or spend a lot of cash, to enjoy the view here and you'll still come home with wonderful pictures you can enjoy for years to come.
- Try out an old camera-found an antique camera that was Great Grandpas up in the attic but don't know how to use it? Spending some time at home might offer you ample time to dust it off, take it down to your local camera shop, and try to find some film for it. Antique cameras are all the rage with professionals, often because of the charm and character you can get from those dusty old cameras. Don't be afraid to try out an old Brownie or an antique for an entirely different take on your summer photography. Don't fret if you don't have an inherited old camera, you can start your own hunt for an old camera at your local Goodwill or charity shop. These types of places often sell old cameras on the cheap and think of how much fun you could have not only shopping for one but maybe finding some old/undeveloped film for an added surprise.
Remember that, no matter where you live, it's going to look "exotic" to somebody somewhere and you don't have to spend a small fortune to enjoy wonderful, lasting photographic memories. Staying at home doesn't have to mean putting the camera away-with a little creativity and a good eye, you can take great pictures anywhere.
Until next time...