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.