Like you I enjoy summer vacations and think travel should be a part of any budget. Actually vacations at any time are great. We just end up taking most of ours during the summer as a reward for my wife making it through the busy tax season. Come the first of June we are (she is) ready to head somewhere.
This summer we had our sights set on a brand new destination – Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We’ve done Disney before and the beach and the cruise ship – all multiple times. So, with the kids getting older, we wanted to venture into new territory – places with new scenery and new adventures to create new memories.
We knew heading out West (from Georgia) would be expensive. Plane flights for six, rental car for 10 days, hotels, meals, activities…you can see this is adding up quickly. We also knew though the West would provide incredible scenic views – mountains, rivers, wildlife – all of which we would want to capture. However, all we had to use were the cameras on our iPhones and an older Canon PowerShot Elph 110HS.
There is nothing wrong with either of those for capturing basic pictures. But neither of them would do for bringing out the most vibrant color in images nor for when distance from an object or its movement is a factor in the quality of the photo.
So as part of our vacation budget, we saved to make a camera purchase. The one we chose was pricey but as you will see it was worth every penny.
Pictures Are Worth a Thousand Words
After a lot of research for our camera purchase, the one we choose was the Cannon EOS Rebel SL1. It’s not top of the line by any means but was a considerable upgrade in camera technology for us. It came with an 18-55 mm zoom lens with image stabilizers. Fortunately at the time of our purchase Best Buy had a promotion where you could get an additional lens at a discounted price with the purchase of this camera. So we also bought a 55-250 mm zoom lens.
The final total once the camera, lenses and camera bag were tallied up was $827. We were completely fine with that because it was part of our vacation budget that we had been saving for since last fall.
Now I’m not a big camera guy. It’s not a hobby and I have no desire for it to become one. But I simply loved using this camera. We took over 1,200 pictures on our trip of which we ended up saving around 700. (Filtering out those 700 to show you some of the best was really tough.)
As you can see from these images, this camera purchase brought our vacation alive. I don’t believe these images could have turned out better with an iPhone or our older camera.
Per the park rules, you are supposed to stay 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards from everything else. So getting these was no easy task.
But on day one we got this great shot of a grizzly using the 250 mm zoom lens:
And the next day captured another one from across a river near Cody, Wyoming.
Of course we saw bison and elk everywhere.
But also little creatures, like this squirrel and marmot (both of which were real fidgety and wouldn’t let us anywhere near them).
But the real prize came when I captured these on our float trip down the Snake River by the Grand Tetons. Yes…that is two bald eagles in one shot.
The one slightly hidden in the tree above came into real good view:
We saw so many beautiful landscape features while on our trip. Here are just a few:
The 308 ft. Lower Falls, the largest in the park that leads into the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
With the incredible speed at which this camera takes pictures, I was able to zoom in on these mud bubbles (being created by the volcanic heat below the surface) and catch them in mid-burst:
Can you see the horse head in the rock face? (taken near Cody, Wyoming).
At the summit after hiking Mt. Washburn:
The Grand Prismatic Spring near Old Faithful. We climbed up an off-the-beaten-path trail to get above the spring for this picture.
In the Grand Tetons on the Snake River:
On our last night there we captured this gem at sunset:
A Camera Purchase Can Provide Never Ending Value
The point of this whole post is that sometimes we forget the ancillary items that can make a vacation great. We still would have experienced a great vacation but the purchase of this camera created so much excitement during the trip. I would have been frustrated in those special moments when images presented themselves had I not been able to capture them. In fact, at one point I wished I had purchased an even larger zoom lens.
For us the camera purchase was worth it. We are in the process of putting together a book of pictures using Shutterfly that we can print out and keep around the house. The images will provide us never ending value as we continue to see them and remember all the fun we had as a family.
Questions: How do you feel about photography? Do you feel it helps add value to your vacations/events? Would you be willing to pay for a camera upgrade if you were taking the trip of a lifetime? Anyone ever used Shutterfly before to put together a photo book?