Mindful Photography … Vacation Edition

If you haven’t heard, it’s freezing in Upstate New York -and yes, my name is captain obvious šŸ˜‰
Yesterday, while huddled under warm blankets, comfy in my favorite sweats, I decided to go through photographs from my vacation in April 2012. (Yes, it’s been that long since my last vacation. That is very sad !) I took a cruise from Miami to Bahamas, Saint Thomas, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk Island. It was beautiful, warm and sunny !

Night Falls on Saint Thomas (Charlotte Amelie, Saint Thomas)

Looking at the photos took me back in time to when I was warm and basking in the sunlight. It also made me cringe. Where in the world did my photography skills go ?!?!?! These photos could have been SO MUCH BETTER ! I couldn’t believe that I went to paradise, toted my huge-a DSLR camera around and took crappy, just sort of “eh”,Ā  vacation photos. Maybe not crappy to anyone but me, the photos were ok … but I see SO MUCH more potential in the scenes that I captured. Yes, the images were beautiful because the place was beautiful, but they lacked any kind of thought about my subjects. Poorly done, Michelle, poorly done. I’m probably being a bit melodramatic about this, but it got me to thinking about my bad habits when it comes to shooting.

When I’m home in Rochester, I am always looking for beautiful places nearby to just wander around, lose myself in the beauty and take photos of everything that I see. I am mindful and present when I am doing this, not freaking out and snapping away just to get a photo, any photo, in hopes that when I get home I’ll have some ok shots.

So, my point is (if anyone actually ever reads this post!), that next time you go somewhere beautiful, treat it like a wonderful opportunity to capture the gorgeous scenes surrounding you, be present in the moment and really THINK about what you are photographing. Think about how you want to remember that place, think about your composition. Take a moment to make sure your ISO is spot on and if you are shooting manually, find the sweet spot for your settings. I ended up with a ton of hazy, blown out images because I was so freaked out I was “OMG I AM ACTUALLY IN PUERTO RICO !!!” that I didn’t even THINK about my ISO settings ! Duh !

Personally, I would rather have 25 gorgeous images that showcase the beauty of where I have been than 250 snapshots. (That might be JUST me) I also think doing this will allow you to experience the place you are fully, instead of just behind the lens, snapping away.

This fact probably seems fairly obvious to most photographers, but for me, I tend to lose my mind when I’m in a gorgeous place I’ve never been. I get very distracted and crazy about it. This year, I am all about breaking my own personal bad photography habits. I realized last night, that this vacation photography madness is one of them šŸ™‚

Now … where should I go this year ? šŸ˜‰

The gorgeous beach in Condado, Puerto Rico

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