Lisa, the kids and I went hiking at Battelle - Darby Creek Metropark after dinner. We threw rocks in the creek and saw the bison. After about 2 miles, five-year-old Luke was cranky. He was getting a cold. So I carried him on my shoulders. The other kids had run ahead to the playground when we got off the trail. Luke believes that rules should be followed and will tell you when you've broken one. Before I even had him on the ground he shouted, "I guess you told yourselves that you were allowed to play on the playground!"
After a leisurely dinner, Lisa and I left Sedona at 8:30. The map indicated that our destination, Prescott Valley, was about 50 miles away. We settled in for a quick trip. The sun had set and there would be no moon for several hours. Stars filled the sky from horizon to horizon. The evening was still warm.
The headlights of oncoming cars infrequently interrupted our stargazing. After a while, Lisa noticed a small cluster of lights halfway up a mountain. You could “see” the mountains only by viewing their silhouettes against the blanket of stars. Road signs announced we were nearing the town of Cottonwood, but we could not see it. The tiny outcropping of lights on the mountain was too far away to be Cottonwood.
Here are four simple tips for taking better beach vacation photos.
Get up early. The Outer Banks summer sun rises very early. You must too. Be in position to capture the scene before the sun breaks the horizon. To capture the sunrise over Currituck Beach Lighthouse, you must be out of bed by 5 a.m. To memorialize a flock of pelicans skimming the surf at Hatteras, you must be out of bed by 5 a.m. To record the human flotsam and jetsam of a midnight clambake on Ocracoke, well you get the picture.
Use the setting sun. The midday sun is an unflattering light source. Landscapes appear flat. The lack of shadows eliminates detail. Portraits are worse, unless you like wrinkles and squinty eyes. Though the early morning sun can be effective for lighting outdoor portraits, the evening sun is warmer and lends a nice glow to the human face. Plus, if your family is like mine, you do not see the teenage faces until lunchtime anyway, so plan on an early evening beach portrait session.
Take a chance. I took one of my favorite vacation photos at the end of a marathon three lighthouse daytrip. We began our trek at noon, making a brief stop at Hatteras Lighthouse on our way to the Ocracoke ferry.
Almost six-year-old Sam has a chocolate chip cookie, a glass of milk, and a problem. He tells me that the cookie is too big, and he cannot dunk it in his milk. I tell him to break the cookie in half. He does, and grins. I know what is coming. Looking at me, he attempts to put the wide side of the cookie in the glass. He giggles, "It still won't fit!"
Lisa and I taught six-year-old Zach to not talk to strangers, and he took this teaching to heart. Woody, a trusted seventy-something-year-old neighbor, was talking to Zach one day. Woody asked Zach what his name was. Zach, mindful of our admonition, but not wanting to appear rude with a flat refusal, replied, "I don't know!" and ran home.