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Summer comes and goes every year, but the days that fill it are anything but consistent (and I don’t just mean the weather). I’ve been editing a lot of the photos we took this Summer, and I couldn’t help but look back into the archives to see how it compared to our lives before we left home.

Last Year: Beaches and Palm Trees

By the time we left Florida, we were getting pretty good a photographing beaches. In 2016 we went for a road trip in the Southeastern corner of the state that took us from the sunny streets of West Palm Beach, to the pristine sands of Delray Beach, to the hidden gardens and street art of Miami, and finally, to the southernmost tip of our country on Key West. It was our daughter Lisa’s first taste of serious travel. You might say we were getting her feet wet – literally and figuratively!

We also did a bunch of commercial and personal photography on the beaches that were a little closer to home. We were lucky enough to live not too far from world class beaches like Fort DeSoto and Honeymoon Island. Beaches make for great photography. The compositions are simple and naturally pleasing to the eye. There are few obstructions to your view, and they are a natural environment for shots of people having a good time. Plus, what you learn while photographing one beach is very likely to apply when photographing another.

Beach Photography Tip – Sunrise or Sunset: Sunrise and sunset over the beach is beautiful, but keep in mind which coast you are on. If you are on the east coast, the sun will rise over the ocean, so you are better off getting up early. Likewise, on the west coast you are better off staying out to watch the sun drop behind the waves on a clear evening.

But you don’t grow much by only practicing in one environment. Once we left Florida we had to stay on our toes, learn new skills, and adapt to a wider variety of scenery. Luckily, we know our time on the sand wasn’t wasted. There are plenty of beautiful beaches in the world, and we’ll be putting those skills to work again someday.

This Year: French Lavender and Scottish Mountains

What a change one year and a few thousand miles can make! We started off in the Provence region in the south of France where we had travelled in search of the famously photogenic lavender fields (which we found in the town of Valensole). We then spent the rest of the season seeking out completely new experiences. Three months of tent camping in Scotland was brand new to us as a form of family travel, and it also presented new challenges to us as photographers. We still haven’t figured out how to avoid camera shake while fleeing a cloud of midges!

Mountain Photography Tip – Lens Choice: Upon arriving at a gorgeous mountain vista, most people will go straight for their wide angle. It’s not a bad choice – if the whole view is amazing, why not try to capture all of it. But don’t forget to take a closer look. Sometimes by zooming in tighter and compressing the distance between distant peaks, you can explore new depths of the scenery that get lost in a panorama.

The second installment in the operation digital nomad series

This summer wasn’t filled with sand and salt, but I sure did cross a lot of things off my bucket list! I don’t know yet what next year will bring. But Jake, Lisa and I will be ready for it, and we’ll have our cameras in hand.