Untours Cafe

Digital Photography As A Trip Journal…….Marlene’s Secrets!

Ever spend time and money planning a trip, take it and when you get home have a hard time remembering what you saw and did. Have a hard time with writing a trip journal along the way? Try photography as an aid to remembering simple details.

If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that I am addicted to my photography. My husband Frank says that the best thing that was invented was the digital camera. Why? Because he had to pay to have hundreds of my photos printed every time we went on a trip.

I love to write as much as I love my photography, but when I am on a trip we tend to be out so much that it leaves very little time for writing. With my “film” cameras, I used to carry a notebook with me and jot down where I took pictures. At least I tried to, but that failed so many times. When I would return, I would try to label the photos right away for my albums but I must say my work and the family didn’t leave much time for that either.

With the purchase of my first digital camera, I discovered that since I could take as many pictures as I liked (as long as I had a large picture memory card), I really didn’t have to write down everything as I went along. My photos told their own story. It was an instant photographic journal.

Here’s what I do. At the beginning of a trip, I take at least one photo of us leaving whether it is at home or at the airport. If flying, I always try to take a photo at the gate with the destination visible. Then when we land, there is the token photo at that airport or the hotel we are staying at. I do the same on our return trip home. It’s a great beginning and end to the journal.

If I’m on an Idyll Untours trip, I try to get at least one photo of the apartment we are staying in. It’s best to have a few on the inside and the outside. You’d be surprised how quickly you can forget what a place looks like inside. People will always be asking you about the place where you stayed so there it is for you to share. These are good starting the day photos at times.

Another thing I do is take what I call “Label Pictures”. There are signs everywhere around you that can help you identify where the next photos were taken. Sometimes it is just a street sign, an intersection, some type of landmark you have used to get where you are, or the best, a sign of the town or attraction you are about to visit.

Also in your photos, you want to include things that show the area’s culture. What can be better examples than pictures of the food you eat? We have found that on our trips to Europe part of the European experience is eating out. Chefs have spent a lot of time on their presentation and you have spent good Euros on buying it. Why not have a memory of that wonderful dish in front of you.

So now I will take you through a typical day of my journal photography. Since we just returned from a Paris Untour, I’ll use a day there as an example. I start each day with a beginning photo. This day we walked out the doorway from our apartment complex and immediately saw the deliveries being made to the Le Palais du Fruit next door. Good place for a starting the day photo.

From here we walked to the metro Les Halles and took trains. A good place for a title photo that shows we took the metro.

We arrived at Blvd des Invalides and walked to Hotel Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb.

These direction signs at an intersection were great labels for location and where we were heading.

The goal of our first stop was to tour Napoleon’s Tomb. Great shots of the Dome from here. The photos that follow are then taken inside.

Leaving Napoleon’s Tomb, we walked around the grounds to the entrance to the Army Museum. Since I didn’t catch a sign here, this cannon is a dead giveaway that we have arrived.

Of course, the photos that follow were taken inside the museum.

Since it was lunch time and there was a handy cafeteria located here, we stopped in for a quick bite. Of course, a photo of Frank being surprised as I snapped the picture is my reminder. Would have never remembered this spot without the photo though.

From there we were able to walk to the Rodin Museum. A picture of Frank by the Rodin Museum Sign introduces the next photos.

Pictures of Rodin’s “The Thinker” in the garden area show that there is more to this museum than just the sculptures and paintings inside.

Leaving the Rodin Museum, we were now headed to visit to the D’Orsay Museum for a second time. It was a favorite museum and we hadn’t reached the 5th floor the first time. A photo taken in the metro station reminds us that we had to take the metro to get there.

A photo taken outside the D’Orsay reminds us that the metro stop was right there in front of the museum and that photos to follow would be of the D’Orsay. How convenient!

The museum had closed now but there was a lot of daylight left on a summer evening. We walked along the Left Bank of the Seine admiring the scenery. Of course there are photos here.

Along the way, we pass the place where Voltaire died. A sign on the building helps to identify this building in my photos.

As well, this sign that identifies the Place Justin Godart where the next photos of the book stands along the Left Bank were located.

We bought a few things here.

We continue trekking along the Left bank to our destination of Pont Neuf. A parking sign alerts me that the next photo is actually Pont Neuf.

Our real destination was Place Dauphine reached by stairs down from Pont Neuf.

Place Dauphine is a park located at the end of the island that is known as Ile de la Cite. The next photos would be taken from this place.

Also, below the bridge on the island there was a small wine bar where we stopped for a little R&R after all the walking. The views of the Seine were nice too.

Back to the bridge we started walking back to our apartment. A sign pointing to Saint Eustache Church lets us know we are on the right path toward home.

Along the way we find a nice little spot for a light dinner and a chance to try more crepes.

A picture of this crepe shows how different the crepe texture is than the other crepes we have had. We would have never remembered this later.

After dinner we continued our trek back to the apartment. A few blocks from home, we stopped at the little Gelato shop that was still open late at night.

A picture of our gelato dessert ends the day for us.

A small note here at the end. In all the places we have traveled, most shopkeepers have no problem with us taking pictures of the outside of their establishment or even of their window displays. Since some do not like photos taken inside their shops, I always ask permission before taking any. Normally they love it when asked and many times decide to pose for me also. I have never had a problem in restaurants. They always seem to get a kick out of my food photos and we seem to get extra special attention from the servers. The best part is that I speak very little in foreign languages so most of my asking permission is done by hand gestures and a couple words accompanied by a big smile.

By the end of the day with the many pictures I have taken, I now have a photographic journal of everything we saw and did during that day. With this we can view slideshows, write a more detailed journal, print photos for an album, or just remember all the fun things we did.

Photography can help you really see what’s around you, but it will definitely help you remember all the things you have seen and done.

Views: 18

Comment by Pete and Maggie Haggart on July 19, 2007 at 11:18pm
Your love of photography shows through and I love you ideas of documenting names and such as you go along. With all the digital capacity - why not - so I will take your advice when we go to Italy this fall. And your photography is excellent!! 5 stars.
Comment by Jean and Fred Agneta on July 22, 2007 at 12:00pm
I just loved what you wrote, and how you did it,
very clever-- a photo journal, less writing more photos!!! I also will follow your directions and tips.
I usually mark the memory cards, 1, 2, 3, etc and keep them in order, at the end of the day, I jot down important things to jog my memory--- Thanks so much for sharing your ideas, and using a digital camera!!! Keep on taking those wonderful pictures and post them on Untourscafe.
Comment by ellieh on July 29, 2007 at 7:58am
What a good idea....like you I take lots of digital photos and will use your ideas for documenting the entire day....I stopped writing a journal on our trip to Egypt in April for lack of time....and I had other things I wanted to read...and do...
Comment by Doris M on August 6, 2007 at 8:06am
Marlene, this is wonderful. I loved following your day in Paris this way. Your photos are excellent. I, too, love digital photography and do a few of the things you suggest but I have learned so much from this blog that I can't wait to use on our next trip. I just added my very first blog on my site last night so hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think....
Comment by Sara and Christopher on September 4, 2007 at 4:03pm
Marlene, thank you for this fabulous advice about how to document each day of a special vacation. I just bought myself a digital camera a couple of months ago and am having a lot of fun with it. It will definitely accompany me on any future trips. I love your photos, and am going to go read about your trip to Paris right now.
Comment by Nina Snyder on July 18, 2013 at 5:31pm

Now, a few years, later I must say I like your method of keeping track of where you were and what you saw.From now on I will follow your example as I wrote my journals in the evening after returning from a busy but tiring day and much was often forgotten. My one question, however, does Frank ever take a photo of you? I make sure my husband takes at least one of me in every country we visit just to prove that I was there also.

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