Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 03:40 pm
After some intense planning, saving, and packing, I left for a 10-day vacation on the East Coast–one of the best vacations I’ve had in my lifetime.
I didn’t ignore my big dream of having a successful freelance photography business. Since I was venturing a long way from home and I wanted to practice shooting in unfamiliar locations, I wondered how hard was going to be to travel around with all of my camera equipment.
Not too hard, considering I took it all – My Olympus 5 and all of the lenses – 17-45mm, 8mm fish eye, 75-150mm, 150-300mm, off-camera flash, monopod, laptop, and iPad. With all that stuff comes accessories too, like the battery charger, power cords, and flash cards.
My bag was super heavy. I chose to carry it on versus checking it. I have a Think Tank backpack camera bag which has been great quality, durable and comfortable bag for me for years.
What would have made my photography trip easier?
I don’t have a good ‘day trip’ camera bag, so I ended up lugging the big one with me everywhere. I shot in HQ / Raw, so I spent a lot of time at night transferring files to the computer so I could have fresh cards the next day.
Next trip, I’ll bring a few more cards for more space, and I’ll definitely invest in a smaller bag for my camera body and a few lenses for quick outings.
What was my favorite spot to photograph?
For the landscape and scenery lover in me–hands down, Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. John Denver’s song “Take Me Home Country Roads” comes to life out there. No joke.
Some of my favorite shots of the trip were taken at an old marble mansion that sits unoccupied except for tours on the weekends. Something about the beauty of wreckage, or abandoned structures, really speaks to me. And there is a ton of it in the Eastern US.
What photos didn’t turn out and why?
It rained a few days so those shots were few and far between with the big cameras. I was in Washington DC for Memorial Day weekend and tried to get some crowd shots at a concert in Capitol Park, but I was overwhelmed by what to focus on.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to find inspiration when there is so much going on. In those instances when I force it, the images won’t turn out at all no matter how hard I try or how much editing I do later.
I also noticed that when it was hot and muggy, I had more interest in sipping iced coffee in the shade than taking photos and that is reflected in my images.
What did I find out about myself on my photography vacation?
I noticed that the more relaxed I got the more creative I felt. I walked slower and looked up and down at everything. I met some interesting people, and as I collected their stories, I shot the photos to go with them.
I also asked for help with my issues with being photographed. One of my freelance dream goals this year is to be on the other side of the camera and share those images of me with others. My picture was taken constantly, sometimes with my knowledge, other times not. It was extremely uncomfortable, and after 10 days it did get easier, but I still didn’t like it.
In my story, “Photographer Overcoming Fear of Being Photographed“ I share the deeper issue I’m dealing with in being photographed.
Traveling with my camera looks as if it agrees with me. Where will I go next?
I’d like to spend some time at the ocean out west. Somewhere between the California-Oregon border, and central California. I think if I plan shorter, more concentrated trips, I’ll get more experience for my photography practice dollar.
I will take the California-Oregon border trip by the end of this year. I live in Northern California so this trip is a simple road trip. Actually, both are.
Post-travel thoughts about goal setting
I spent a lot of time fretting about going on this trip–time away from work, travel costs, time away from my son–that all weighed heavily on my mind, even after I paid for it all and boarded the plane.
If one of your goals is to travel on a photo vacation and practice your dream, my advice is to just do it. There is hardly ever a best time. You will always need more time off, more money, more whatever.
The photography vacation won’t plan itself. Make some plans, set your goals, and go. And don’t look back.
Remy Gervais is a freelance photographer in the Northern California wine country and a Senior Business Coach at E-Myth International.