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Do you and your family have a favorite travel destination that you've always gone to for rest and relaxation? Or did you grow up with fond memories of family getaways like these? Maybe you're starting the tradition with your own kids. These places become touchstones in our lives, filled with memories and impressions that grow and change as the years go by.
There are several layers to photographing trips to memorable destinations: you want to capture accurate depictions of the place and its surroundings, but you also want your photos to convey the notions of tradition and the passing of time. In this course, author and photographer Ben Long visits his family's New Mexico cabin. He shows how to create photos that not only capture the essence of the place and its surroundings, but also convey its significance as the backdrop for shared family experiences and traditions. Along the way, he shows how to recreate old photos to capture what has changed, shoot details that haven't been documented before, and explore the surrounding area, to capture the full essence of the place.
Earlier today when I was reshooting the three shots, I was getting frustrated with with the fact that those shots that I was recreating weren't that great. Now I'm getting frustrated that there's a tree in my ear. But things have grown up a lot around here. I was getting frustrated with just the quality of the original pictures, and I thought well, this is ridiculous. I'm going to take some nice shots. So, I went out and tried to find just some nice pictures of. Large scale pictures of the place, wide shots of the place. And boy these trees, do really make it more complicated. There aren't any clear open shots of the cabin anymore.
Which makes it a really nice place to be, but it makes it a hard place to photograph. But still I, I got some stuff that I think I like. But I'm not as actually as interested in those as I am in stuff like this. This may not look like much, but this is the water spigot that powers the entire cabin. So, there's so much sensorial stuff for me around this very mundane object here. because when you get here, there's no water in the cabin, you gotta hook it up. And so, you gotta go crawl underneath.
The house and find this hose and hook it up and bring it out here and hook it up to this thing and then crank this up, and that feeds water to the house. It's part of the fun of being here. When you're out there doing that, you know this is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing right now and it's a nice honest chore. There's a lot of memories around this. So I want to shoot it and I want to kind of do a good job of shooting it. I've got some nice light on it. It's fading very quickly. I'm just going to get to work here. I'm not aiming for a picture that anyone is going to look at and go wow, I'd really like a print of that hanging on my wall.
That's not the goal here. The goal here, with a lot of what I'm going to be doing, is as much about just having a,a trigger for my own memories. I can perfectly evoke the exact, in my mind, the exact. Tension that you feel when you pull this up. I really like the feel of this mechanism. It's, it's very sturdy up to this point and then it, locks into place. I can feel it in my hands. I, I never think about that when I'm at home or when I'm heading this way so, it's interesting to have this memory of it.
And I don't know if anyone else in the family thinks about this that way or thinks about it at all. Maybe they do. Maybe having this will. Have some meaning for somebody else. While I'm doing that I want to, to the best of my ability, do the work of a good photographer. I'm not simply pointing a camera at it. As you can see, I'm not simply pointing a camera at it from wherever I happen to be standing and shooting a picture of it. I'm going in for details. I'm shooting this at a variety of apertures because I don't know if I want the background in focus or not.
It might be that my memory of this is with pine needles and whatnot so I'm trying some with sharp backgrounds, some with soft backgrounds. I'm doing that just by changing my aperture. A cool thing about this is it's, this particular shape is just strong lines. I just like line so. Just as an active, still life photography. Shooting this kind of stuff can be interesting. There are a lot of places around here. I gotta shoot the steps to the outhouse. I've gotta shoot this. There's the place where we build a fire outside at night. There're the chairs.
There's an old. Beat up rusty typewriter that I found way up the hill, and nearly killed myself trying to carry it down. I never think about any of that stuff when I'm at home, and wow that triggers so many memories for me. None of which are in the photograph, but all of which are very valuable to me, and possibly to other people. So I'm going to roam around outside, and shoot some of those, and see where that leads.
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