A luxury holiday is a wonderful treat but is apt to be over all too soon. In order to preserve your memories for a little bit longer try to spend some of your time away recording the special moments. You can then re-live them once reality strikes back at home even if you choose not to try and share with others.
Diary or scrapbook
The traditional way to record a voyage is a log but you needn’t be so formal, especially with regard to journey details – unless you so wish. It is not even important that you cover every chronological step. Feel free to start and end as you wish, and cover only those aspects that you find important at the time. If you don’t find other bits interesting, then you won’t later and nor will others.
Your record need not be paper-based. These days it is much easier to share if you produce it in digital form. This would also allow you to integrate the other two recording forms mentioned below.
The main content will be textual. You don’t need to use perfect grammar but it would pay to check spellings if you do intend to show to others. The layout is completely your decision but it will help clear your own thoughts if you do spend a little time planning this aspect. Try to organize your thoughts into themes and decide what content is relevant.
The style of the writing should reflect your own personality. You might write flowing descriptions, focus on the people or include a little humor. Think creatively and you may well end up with a piece that is memorable and which sets the standard for future trips too.
You do not need to be an aspiring photographer in order to take competent photographs these days, nor do you need to worry about the mystic darkroom arts as your images can be stored and retrieved easily in digital form. All that matters is that you capture images that preserve your memories, the places and moments that made your trip so special.
It pays to have a camera with you at all times. You could use your phone but a small point-and-shoot that fits into a pocket is ideal. A flash could be useful if your moments tend to be during the evenings. A zoom lens makes sense if you aim to take lots of shots, and know how to take advantage of the flexibility that these give you. The better the total image quality the more likely it is that you will capture something in the picture that is usable.
Once back home there are three potential tasks:
1. Cataloging – you may want to add annotations to help you remember when and where the photo was taken and who or what is shown.
2. Processing – images out of the camera sometimes contain flaws. There is plenty of software to process digital images and the same manipulations can normally be done by a film laboratory if you know what to ask for. Processing can be time-consuming but these days can be an equal part of the creative process – so do as much or as little as you are comfortable with.
3. Displaying – single images are nice to look at but there are many ways that you can put a collection together to make browsing easier. Think of the typical album and then look to see what other options there are for digital images.
Warning: Photography can become addictive. Just wait until you get some nice comments when you show yours.
Few people think of taking a sound recorder on their travels but if you have ever heard the productions from someone who has you will know that the results can be very evocative and, given that a basic recorder is simple to operate, there are few barriers to entry.
It pays to buy a device specifically intended to record sounds rather than say the function built into a phone. You will also need a decent microphone, preferably one that picks up sounds from a specific direction rather than from all around. This will help you to focus the attention where you want it. Other accessories, such as a wind-proofing fluffy, are relatively cheap and you can add as required.
There will be many sounds during your trip that you might record. Music and conversation are obvious – but sounds need not be loud or continuous to release a sense of presence. Think of water lapping against a shore, or of bird-song. In fact, wildlife gets you into a whole new realm of exciting opportunities.
As with images, you will need to work on your sound recordings once you are back home – but the chances are that you will find the tasks already helping you to remember the best of your trip, so will not be tiresome at all.
Ian Ford is Operations Manager at Photo Tours Abroad.