Sprucing up Vacation Photos

July 21, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

We just returned from a wonderful trip up north to Two Harbors, MN. The weather was sooo nice compared to where we live  just a few hours south (90+ degrees). Every night on the lake it was around 65-70 degrees and the crazy fog would roll in and out all day long. It made for some very interesting photo opportunities.


As I was shooting during this trip, sometimes I thought about this blog and how I could use the images to discuss the topic but sometimes things "just happened" and it made sense to use the images (like the Glensheen mansion).


Each photo has at least one strong design elements (framing, Rule of Thirds, repeating patterns, line) that anyone can incorporate into their everyday images.


For most of trip I used my point and shoot camera. Granted it is a pretty awesome little point and shoot (Canon G11). It's very handy when I'm not in the mood to lug around my large digital SLR. Most of the time I shot in the Program mode and once in a while even in AUTO. I used the Exposure Compensation to lighten and darken the images.  Most of the images are pretty much like they were out of the camera, although I did add a little contrast and saturation to some of them.



View from our balcony on one of the few occasions the fog lifted.

Program mode 1/125  f/4.0  ISO 200





These two images were taken at the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN.

This first one I took very quickly as we were being ushered in on a tour. I was afraid I wouldn't get a chance to see the front of the mansion again so I took a quick shot on the move. Not great.








After the tour we came back around and I took this photo. I wasn't able to get back very far because the front of the mansion was close to a fence but I backed up as far as I could and was able to use the trees to frame the house. I was much happier with this one.


Program Mode

1/250  f/4.0  ISO 100









The shot of the flower was taken at Gooseberry Falls. I thought this one would be a good example to show the Rule of Thirds. When I took the original photo I had the flower a little more centered  but when I brought it up on my computer I used the guide on the right to put the flower on an intersected line to show emphasis. Any of the intersecting lines (marked with red dots) can be used for the Rule of Thirds but the intersection  (upper left)  is considered the most visually appealing. 

Manual Mode (Canon Mark II - digital SLR)  1/400  f/7.1  ISO 125

IMG_7094 Untitled-1













I ran across this archway as we were heading for the beach and right away I liked the look of it. The first image I took I was just looking at the Repeating Pattern of the arches. After I walked through it and saw the walkway from the other side I took the other two images which I like even better. I like how the fog in the background hides a distracting building.


IMG_3571 IMG_3602 IMG_3576

For this last archway photo I got down a little lower than eye level to change the perspective.

Auto Mode 1/2000   f/5.0   ISO 250


The next two images are of a walkway out to the lighthouse. I snapped the first images fairly quickly not thinking about composition. As we walked along the breaker wall, I liked how the lines were changing. I shot the second image which gave more emphasis to the lines and direction. It also gave me an opportunity to eliminate the bench in the lower right hand corner which was rather distracting.

IMG_3609x IMG_3613

AUTO Mode  1/1250  f/4  ISO 160



This is one of my favorite photos. The fog was so intense along the lake that I was able to take this silhouette in midday by shooting up into the sky.

I converted the image to black and white on my computer.



Program Mode 1/2000  f/6.3  ISO 100


Some things to think about when taking vacation photos

  • Time of day. The lighting outside can change the look and feel of a photo. Early morning and early evening may provide more attractive light.
  • Be careful taking your camera to the beach. Sand can do BAD things to a camera.
  • Experiment with your viewpoint. Try getting much higher and lower to see how the image changes.
  • Be sure to take plenty of batteries and memory cards. Nothing like running out of memory or charge in the midst of an awesome day.
  • Take a break once in a while and just enjoy the moment. Not every single moment has to be captured. Pick and choose what you really want to capture so you don't drive your family crazy. My son said to me on this trip "Do you only like to go on vacation to take photos?" that made me put my camera down for the rest of the day.


One of the tunnels we went through on the way to Gooseberry Falls.

Program Mode 1/25  f/4.0  ISO 160


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