I start out thinking that I pick our vacation destinations partly because they are beautiful places filled with lots of photographic opportunities. However, there are certain things you learn about yourself any time you set out on a big adventure. I learned these things last summer on our two week road trip to Montana. Our end goal was Glacier National Park, beautiful photo opportunities around every curve in the road.
My husband and I took almost a week of planned wandering to reach our end goal. We, translated into I, wanted to see some other National Parks along the way, places we had never been to before and may never get to again.
Our first major stop, after traveling across Michigan's very long Upper Peninsula, was Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. What a beautiful place, filled with historic old buildings and a volunteer park ranger who was willing to take the two of us on a personal tour of a historic fishery and tell us lovely historic tales about the family that lived there. Read the post I wrote on the Hokenson Fishery here.
After we left Apostle Islands we traveled along U.S. 2 which meanders west along the top of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana.
So many sights of delight were spied through my car window, yet we could not stop at every one or it would take us all day just to get across Wisconsin, and we needed to be in central North Dakota by nightfall.
My husband was probably grumbling under his breath that we would get there so much faster if we dropped down to the Interstate where you could travel at a heart racing 80-85 mph. Instead we traveled along a two lane highway at a sedate 65 mph. The beauty of America is not found along the need for speed Interstates, but it can still be found in all its decaying glory along the unhurried scenic highways and back roads.
When we reached Montana and Glacier National Park all photographic joy had left me. Maybe it was having to pass by too many inspiring photographic sights along the way that left me unfilled and a bit depressed. Maybe it was the thought "What could I photography differently that hasn't already been photographed a million times." Most of all though it was the feeling of always being in a hurry. I was more than content to travel the park, and hike the trails with just my trusty iPhone, leaving my dslr in the car.
I did get a few shots here and there that make me happy, but for the most part Glacier was captured on an iPhone.
I learned a few things, well a lot of things, about myself and my photography on this trip.
- I don't want to feel hurried when I am photographing.
- I don't like shooting landscapes.
- I prefer to shoot structures, give me a derelict shed or a rusty barb wire fence any day.
- I shoot really well on historic tours, which you would think would be a hurried situation, but I like shooting while I am listening.
- I need to speak up and have my husband pull over occasionally to fulfill that longing to photograph the decaying beauty of America's back roads.
So this brings me back to my initial question. Do you travel to photograph or photograph as you travel?