Though COVID-19 has stalled a lot of travel plans, we hope our stories can offer inspiration for your future adventures—and a bit of hope.
A good RV travel photo isn’t necessarily about the place in the camera’s frame but instead it is about how the subject existed in that specific moment in time. It matters little whether you are in an RV park or in a location of exceptional scenic beauty it simply comes down to a moment in time and how you choose to capture it.
In this post I’ll discuss travel photography tips that you don’t usually hear and they’re focused on RV travel. The tips come from years of my own experiences combining photography with the RV lifestyle.
Photography is the study of light and a photograph is a moment in time—a moment that has passed and is unique. It’s a moment that will never and can never be duplicated. You can’t rewind time and make it happen again—all you can try to do is capture it.
That moment is where the beauty and magic of photography lives. It’s up to you, the RV travel photographer, to feel and find that moment and translate it into pixels.
I’d say that the knowledge I’ve accumulated from years of RV travel has helped. And, these tips may help you too.
When the weather is bad, run for the camera
When we think RV travel photography we anticipate sunny blue skies and dread dark, cloudy skies and grey, wet scenes. Unanticipated thick fog that envelops the entire landscape can provide some great photo opportunities which aren’t your typical post card shots. The above photo in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after leaving Oconaluftee Visitor Center in North Carolina is an example.
Be prepared regardless of the weather.
Shoot a well-known place but shoot something that it’s not known for
OK, this photo isn’t typical Sedona but that’s why I’m featuring it here. Often when taking photos in a well known location you can end up with the same pictures everyone else.
Sedona is a magical town known for its healing powers and beautiful red rocks that surround the city. Everyone on earth can agree that the red rocks are amazing and that’s why everyone that visits Sedona takes pictures of them. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take photos of the tourist attractions and the beautiful landscapes in the area, but while you’re there also try to find something else that is unique—something that other people are simply missing.
On our last visit to Sedona, I did take photos featuring the red rocks from all the popular tourist vistas but it was this image that really stuck with me because I knew no one else would have this exact photo. While it captures the area’s famous red rocks it was much more that captured my interest. It is beautiful, different, and pure Sedona—and it quickly became one of my favorites.
Capture the details
Don’t forget all the little details that made your RV trip memorable. Whether it’s the fabrics, the food, the architecture, the souvenirs or even the raindrops—be sure to shoot the small details that make that location unique. These things are important and easily overlooked when taking photos. During a recent visit to the Temecula (California) area we stayed at the new 5-star Pala Casino RV Resort. Visiting the nearby Santiago de Pala Mission I was intrigued by the features as shown in the above image.
When you’re reviewing your photos you will be happy that you took those pictures because they will specific memories of your journey.
“If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong.”
On your RV road trip, focus on having a ton of fun. The more fun you have, the more you’ll enjoy your photo experience, which will result in a high percentage of “keepers.”
In order to have fun, you need to be flexible, because as much as you plan, things can happen—with the weather, traffic, road construction, and so on.
When things don’t go just right, take a deep breath and don’t freak out. “Smile, be happy,” as the Bobby McFerrin song goes. Be happy that you are on the road doing what you like to do: Make photos.
The beautiful scenery is there, but it cares not for pleasing composition or the quality of light at any moment in time. This is where the artist comes in, arranging in a frame the scattered elements into a story, anticipating and chasing the light, bringing it all together to create an evocative image capable of communicating the visual experience and impressing the grandeur of a fleeting moment on viewers for generations to come.