16 February 2010

Kapowing! - Kapowing Moments Into Your Vacation Photos

by guest columnist KatieKapow (''')-.-(''').  Follow her on Twitter.
For many of us, vacations are few and far between.  Taking a break from the daily grind is either nearly impossible for lack of time or financially infeasible.  That's why when I get the opportunity to get away, I savor every moment.  Along with creating irreplaceable and epic memories, I like to capture my special “me” time in my vacation photographs.  I used to simply point and shoot at places of interest along my journeys, but found that once I got home and printed the images, they lacked something. The photos were pretty (a landscape of the Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure, a valley dotted with buffalo in Yellowstone National Park, et cetera), but they didn't really tell the story of my adventure.  

In recent years, I've tried to more consciously frame and capture moments along the way in a timeline; a day in my life told by the pieces of the day that I encounter.  Going snap-happy on an adventure is easy, but is easy always best?  Rather than hold my arm out in front of my face at the Continental Divide or trust some stranger with my camera to click a portrait of my husband and me in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, I like to spin a different angle on my vacation pics.  Let me show you how I mean.

In October, I took a five day trip to Minneapolis to visit a friend.  From the moment I boarded my first plane, I was in storybook mode with my camera.  These photos probably don't make much sense to friends and family as they look through my photo albums, but to this friend and me, they are priceless!

★ Traveling ★
"Kapow on da Train"
When traveling by myself, I find fun ways to self portrait at my location.  On my way to the terminal in the Seattle Airport, I caught my reflection while passing through a tunnel on the train.

"Seattle's Best"
Waiting to board the flight, I enjoyed this Hazelnut Latte and a Cinnamon Roll.
"Kapow Leavin' on a Jet Plane"
I snapped this photo and texted it to my friend, "See you in three hours!  Look!  A window seat- SCORE!"

★ The Hotel ★
"The Graves 601 Hotel"
My friend walked me to the hotel, one I'd never visited before.  Today, I fondly remember this plaza.  The green umbrellas in the background became a familiar sight in the morning since the hotel, The Graves, had a Starbucks attached to it. (^_^) 

I love this photo - it helps to remind me of the interior design of the hotel.  It was a lovely, modern boutique.  I can't wait to visit The Graves again.
"All the way to 11"
I will never forget what floor I stayed on.
"Knock Knock"
Here's the hallway that lead to my room.  This photo is another great reminder of the interior design and general style of the hotel.
Y'all know Kapow *loves* her some pancakes.  It's kinda my thing.  (~_^)  I shrieked when I walked in my room and was greeted by this pancake covered magazine.
"View from my Window"
And what did it look like outside my window? Well, this!

Food, Drink and Entertainment
"Graves 601 at night"
This whole trip was pretty much a nighttime eat and drink fiesta!  It really was a fantastic party vacation.  This photo reminds me of the nights in Minneapolis, when I would leave the hotel and have my small town eyes stunned by all the pretty downtown lights.

"Tokyo Tini" - "Gluek's" - "O' Donovan's"
Eat, drink, laugh, and repeat.  When fully embracing this pattern, it's very easy to forget where I was exactly, or what I was doing.  To avoid an aftermath of blurry memories, I immortalized each of these evenings with photographs distinctive of each location.  Each of these photos sets the tone and vibe from their own atmospheres and reminds me of all the new things I tried (such as Sashimi - gah!  Peer pressure!).
On our way out to enjoy some of that food and drink I mentioned, I used the glass of the elevator doors to take a candid portrait of the moment.  You'd be surprised how many shiny, reflective surfaces are out there just waiting to be taken advantage of.
"First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry"
My friend and I caught a concert while I was in town.  We stepped outside to cool off after the opening band.  A few people came outside to do the same, a few others stopped to take a look at what was going on inside.  Even though I don't know any these folks, I love this photo for reminding me of that moment when we waited in the cold Minneapolis night for Shonen Knife to appear.

The Departure
Before checking out at my hotel, I clicked one more photo of the view from my window.  The city was there when I arrived, was there when I left, and will be there when I come back.

When I returned home from my trip, I was able to put these and the rest of my photos into a timeline of the vacation.  I printed them in a photo book including captions and excerpts of the moments while memories where still fresh in my head.  Months later, these odd little photos can still take me right to that vacation.  The lesson here is this: Don't be afraid to whip out your camera at that fancy restaurant or take a photo on the streets where a bunch of strangers are gathered because these little, candid, personal moments can make the difference between photos in a shoebox on your top closet shelf, and an irreplaceable pictorial memoir as precious as the vacation itself.
Kapow (''')-.-(''')

Random Fact Of the Week About Katie★Kapow (''')-.-(''')Since April 12th of 2009, every day I’ve worked hard to make a photographic “post of the day.” It’s my 365 project. Each week I recap those photos at my blog, Katie Kapow Dot Com. I will continue to do this until at least this year is over.


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