Successfully documenting a road trip doesn’t have to be hard work. With some planning and a little exploring you can really have fun with it. Taking photos on a long car journey can be your first step toward creating an art journal, collecting your own textures for editing, developing travel journals + photo albums and tracking experiences. It’s so much fun to be able to review details of adventures long after the memories begin to fade.
I loved travelling across Canada. It’s the biggest car adventure I’ve undertaken and I enjoyed myself so much. I’m so happy that I decided to photograph the entire trip. The Canadian and I rarely go on holiday, so when we were posted from Edmonton to Ottawa, we decided that it was going to be fun. We’d been told by many people that the drive could be completed in 3 straight days of driving but, for us, that wouldn’t have been as safe, beneficial or as enjoyable as the time we took to smell the roses, photograph and explore areas of the country we’d never have the opportunity to see again.
Undoubtedly, the greatest part of the trip was spending time with my Canadian but, I’m not going to lie, seeing Canada and improving my photography skills were definitely up there on my list of enjoyment. 3,000+ km later and I had learnt a lot about finding great photo opportunities and improving my way of documenting our travels while road tripping it.
Here are my top tips:
1. Plan your trip
Planning your road tip, breaks and the time you have each day to take photographs can really help bring things together. If you know that you will be stopping in Town X for lunch and that you have an hour, you could plan to see the towns tourist attraction, have a picnic by a remote lake or visit a small market. Planning your photo breaks saves time and makes the experience enjoyable.
Leave the highway. Study the map before you travel and look for unusual place names. Some of the best experiences and photo opportunities can be found in those remote places.
3. Document Enjoyment
Take photos of the things you enjoy, capture images that sum up your mood or the mood of the journey on that day. Don’t take photos for the sake of taking photos.
4. Practice your Photo Techniques
I took a camera manual with me. I know how to pick ’em, huh? When The Canadian drove, I read my book and learnt new techniques, compositions or settings that I would try out. Learning how to manipulate shutter speed, adjust composition and learn more about my camera was fun.
5. Use the Car
Take photos in the car, use the rear view mirror, the side mirror and the driver. There are so many options, but remember to be safe. Don’t distract the driver!
6. Be Real
Remember to document the things that make the trip real. Document the mess of travelling, the hotel rooms, the food. Your road trip is yours. It adds up and documenting all of it, including the little things makes a big difference.
7. Road Signs
Road signs make great photo opportunities on long journeys. The road trip was really long and we went through many towns. If for no other reasons, taking pictures of road signs can help divide your images into location points. This is particularly useful on a long road trip when you have no option of downloading your images to a computer.
8. Take Landscape Photos
Learn to take landscape photographs, especially of scenery that you love. They make great backdrops for written text in journals and blogs.
Review your photos often. Better yet, upload your photos to your computer, cloud or wherever you decide to store them and do it every evening. If you can’t upload then at least review your images in the camera. On our road trip I found so many photo opportunities that I had over 1k images by the time we reached Ontario! Far too many. It took an hour to go through and delete blurry, duplicate and imperfect images. If I’d have done this every evening it would have made my life easier.
Take a notebook with you and write. It might not seem like a big deal but road trips are a great way to make big plans and goals. Conversations on long journeys are great and the experiences you have are rich. Don’t miss out on documenting those experiences. Having text to go with your photographs can really help bring a journal together.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun. Enjoy the moment. Photographs are great but if you don’t enjoy yourself then it becomes a bit pointless. Taking photos of everyday only has meaning if you enjoyed the moment.
Canada is a beautiful country, but there are also some serious risks to wandering off, always be aware of wildlife, especially bears and other dangerous creatures. Polar bears, for instance, are not going to pose nicely, no matter how great your camera is.
|In 2012, I travelled across 3 Canadian provinces and completed my first major ‘road trip’. Road trips are a new concept to me, so my excitement was intense. Follow the Road Trip Journey and discover places to visit and enjoy in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, as well as hints and tips on the best way to make a road trip romantic, enjoy each others company and find great photo opportunities|