I took a 1,400 mile road trip with my favorite subjects, my family.  We went to Valley Forge, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Colonial Williamsburg, Bush Gardens and Washington DC.  What did I bring?  My Nikon D40, Nikon 18-200 VRI lens, SB400, spare battery and memory cards.  I know, insane, especially since it’s nowhere near the quality of my D90 / 24-70 f2.8, but I’m a minimalist at heart and it’s the perfect vacation combo.

Washington, DC - National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (D40 18-200 - f8 / 29mm / 1/250)

Why is it so good? Its old, well used and not worth a lot anymore – if its lost, stolen, or broken I get to buy something newer and better.  It’s also highly effective and simple for the whole family to use.  When I hand my family my good gear I get all anxious about it (thats my own flaw).  The above photo was taken by my Daughter at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC.  Its a lot of fun without a lot of work.

Pillory Side Angle - Colonial Williamsburg, VA (D40 18-200 VRI / f9 / 28mm)

Something I’m beginning to really realize, and you would think I would have gotten it by now, is that you really need to use your feet for good photos.  On top of waiting for the right moment, which actually may not come, you have to move around and try several angles for the same shot.  Just walk a circle around your subject and try different shots.  You don’t have to be a paparazzi about it, buy you really need to do it.

Pillory - Colonial Williamsburg, VA (D40 18-200 VRI / f9 / 24mm)

In Colonial Williamsburg, we lined up in a long line to get photos of our kids in the Pillory. Every single person in line took a head-on picture. It probably worked out that way because the first person to start the line started taking photos that way and it just continued on for the rest of the day like that.  Once our kids got in I fell victim to the same trap, except I thought to myself I should at least try one more angle. I didn’t have the “moment” from my kids, but it’s still better than head-on like everyone else was doing.  And even if you disagree with me on which one is better you at least have two unique shots to choose from when you get home. Did anyone follow suite and at least return home with two photos, one head on and one from the side?  Nope…. They just stayed in line doing the same thing.


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